Nephilim FATE Magic – Higher Magic and Grand Secret

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.

Presented for reference: big table of Higher Magic spells and Grand Secret from the original Nephilim source book that continue to work with Nephilim FATE. For full description of the following spells, please acquire the Nephilim sourcebook.*  It’s cheap!

Nephilim FATE no longer requires thresholds rolls, but Higher Magic spells may be contested if they directly affect a target. All Higher Magic spells last a scene unless noted otherwise.

Higher Magic

Spell Name Element Summary
Sword of Sun Tzu Fire Summons a sword of flame.
Ka-Shout Fire Paralyzes all in 20m radius of caster.
Shoal of Fire Fire Flaming armor provides the caster with Armor equal to number of shifts.
Pyromancy Fire Sets any object on fire, even non-flammable ones. Fire spreads to flammable objects.
Pyretic Body Fire Transforms target into a human fighting torch. Shifts on success adds to Fists.
Shoal of Air Air Dense air armor provides the caster with Armor equal to number of shifts.
Scry of the Wise Air Allows caster to visualize some hidden information about a target. Target must be in line of sight.
Hermetic Satori Air Caster understands any language it reads.
Spear of the Valkyrie Air Summons a translucent vapor spear. Shifts on success adds to Weapon.
Winds of Lifting Air Flight! Woosh!
Companion Winds Air Allows any consenting target to fly with the caster.
Shoal of Earth Earth Coat of solid matter provides the caster with Armor equal to number of shifts.
Drill of Pluto Earth Causes hand to transform into a hammer of stone. Shifts on success adds to Fists.
Voice of the Earth Earth Caster can communicate with a vertebrate animal.
Grounding the Fool Earth Cures all mental afflictions of one person. Permanent.
Caress of Lilith Earth Causes target to feel intense mental and physical pleasure. May be addictive to humans.
The Mole Bore Earth Allows caster to move through the earth and speed determined by shifts on success.
Shoal of Water Water Water coat of armor provides Armor equal to number of shifts.
Spring of Lameth Water Creates a spring of pure water.
Chameleon Skin Water Caster may take physical appearance of any human known by the caster.
Slashing of the Shark Water Magical axe appears. Shifts on success adds to Weapon.
Water Deluge Water Causes a sudden thunderstorm on a cloudy day.
Shoal of the Moon Moon Luminous moon coat provides Armor equal to number of shifts.
Visage of Terror Moon Caster strikes fear into the heart of one target.
Evasion of the Earth’s Seduction Moon Allows the target to jump very high (but not fly). Shifts on success determines effectiveness.
Mirror of Thoth Moon Reflects all spells and magical weapons over the duration of a scene.
Deception of the Moon’s Cold Light Moon Allows the caster to persuade a target the caster is a true friend. Spell continues until the caster does something to counter this truth. Permanent.

Grand Secret

Nephilim FATE no longer requires thresholds rolls, but Grand Secret spells may be contested if they directly affect a target. Most Grand Secret spells are permanent.

Completely drives one human target mad. Permanent.Creates a zone of total darkness 100m radius around point chosen by the caster. Lasts a scene.

Spell Name Element Summary
Pyretic Consumption Fire Totally burns any matter up to 500 kg.
Eruption Fire Creates a mini-volcano 100m radius. Volcano erupts for a dramatic scene. Shifts on success determines damage.
Manifest Fire Plexus Fire Manifests a fire plexus giving +1 Lore Shift to all Fire spells during casting. Lasts until following Tuesday.
Stigmatic Idea Air Allows caster to permanently plant or change a memory in a target.
Typhoon Trust Air Creates a hurricane of 100m radius. Lasts a scene. Shifts on success determines damage.
Manifest Air Plexus Air Manifests an air plexus giving +1 Lore Shift to overcome complexity on all Air spells during casting. Lasts until following Wednesday.
Seismic Concussion Earth Creates an earthquake of 100m radius. Lasts a scene. Shifts on success determines damage.
Manifest Earth Plexus Earth Manifests an earth plexus giving +1 Lore Shift to overcome complexity on all Air spells during casting. Lasts until following Thursday.
Resurrection Earth Caster may bring back to life one human or creature. Does not work on resurrected simulacrum.
Grasp of the Invisible Octopus Water Creates whirlpool of 100m radius. Lasts a scene. Shifts on success determines damage. Needs a serious body of water.
Tidal Wave Water Creates a huge tidal wave. Lasts a scene. Shifts on success determines damage. Must target a large body of water.
Manifest Water Plexus Water Manifests an earth plexus giving +1 Lore Shift to overcome complexity on all Air spells during casting. Lasts until following Friday.
Wahnsinn Moon Drives one human target completely mad. Permanent.
Eclipse Moon Creates a zone of complete and total darkness centered on a point selected by the caster 100m in radius. Lasts a scene.
Manifest Moon Plexus Moon Manifests an earth plexus giving +1 Lore Shift to overcome complexity on all Air spells during casting. Lasts until following Monday.

Nephilim FATE Magic – Lower Sorcery Spell Table

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.

Presented for reference: big table of Lower Sorcery spells from the original Nephilim source book that continue to work with Nephilim FATE. For full description of the following spells, please acquire the Nephilim sourcebook.*

Nephilim FATE no longer requires thresholds rolls.  The duration is a scene for all spells.  No Lower Sorcery spells cause permanent change to targets or the environment.

Complexity for these spells is low — an environment target number (PvE) or the target’s Conviction, save Pyretic Limb, which can be considered a weapon-based spell.  Spells are available to all Nephilim provided they have access to the spell’s Focus: a book, parchment, a scroll, a fortune cookie, or some other physical artifacts.  Spells that match the Nephilim’s dominant Ka receive a +1 bonus to Lore when working out complexity to cast, as the Nephilim finds a spell of matching “color” easier to understand than one of a different color.

 

Spell Name Element Summary
Pyretic Palm Fire Create a small flame.
Pyromantic Temper Fire Heats a solid about size of a cup of water.
Choking Vapor Fire Create dense smoke 10m radius.
Pyretic Limb Fire Transform a limb into a torch. Can be a weapon.
Dowse Fire Plexus Fire Helps locate nearest Fire Plexus.
Aerial Whispers Air Makes whispered speech audible.
Translucent Veil Air Makes transparent 1000 cm3 of an object.
Purify Air Air Makes air pure and breathable.
Dowse Air Plexus Air Helps locate nearest Air Plexus.
Babel Unbound Air Allows target to understand spoken languages
Terra Mobile Earth Makes solid 1000 cm3 of any gas, fluid or plasma.
Caduceus Press Earth Heals 1 box of physical stress.
Purify Matter Earth Purifies solids of bacteria and rot.
Dowse Earth Plexus Earth Helps locate nearest Earth Plexus.
Balance the Humors Earth Cures 1 illness in a human target.
Seething Aqua Water Boils and purifies a cup of liquid.
Liquifaction Water Makes liquid any solid size of a cup.
Mobile Aqua Water Flows 1000cm3 liquid uphill.
Pelagic Survival Water Allows target to breathe in a liquid.
Dowse Water Plexus Water Helps locate nearest Water Plexus.
Lunar Crescent Moon Creates luminous crescent in hand of caster.
Monotonic Tintinitis Moon Creates continuous annoying sound about as loud as a phone ring.
Lunar Veil Moon Creates 3-dimensional, immovable illusion.
Dowse Moon Plexus Moon Helps locate nearest Moon Plexus.
Spleen Moon Dazes target.

* I would have posted them all but it has to wait until I am less super tired.

Nephilim FATE Magic – Sorcery v1

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.

(This is version 1 of my rules.  I will need to rewrite them post feedback.)

Sorcery is the oldest of all Nephilim magics.  When the world was new, Sorcery was old.  When Nephilim were pretend Gods in their Simulacrum to the men in their first settlements and cities, Sorcery was old.  Sorcery is a crude golden hammer — when all you have is Sorcery, everything looks like a nail.  It is the Path Well Traveled to Agartha.

Sorcery is also the simplest of all of Nephilim magics.  It confers no special wisdom about the universe.  It gives the wielder no immaculate powers to spontaneously create from their wills.  It’s Sorcery, plain and simple.  Summoners and Alchemists find Sorcery a crude road at best with no subtlety and no special understanding.  It’s cheap and easy but it looks cheap and easy.

The three circles of sorcerous magic cost the base of -1 Refresh for lower sorcery and each subsequent circle is an upgraded stunt through grand secret.

First Circle Lower Magic -1
Second Circle Higher Magic -2
Third Circle Grand Secret -4

Casting spells requires a Focus*. Lower Sorcery requires books, scrolls, tablets, ancient codexes, web browsers**, or anywhere else a Nephilim reads the written word. Higher Sorcery requires a Focus and a personal focus — an amulet, a ring, or other device the Nephilim uses to help control greater powers. This focus is another Stunt (-1) granting a bonus to sorcerous magics while casting spells. Grand Secret needs some serious shenanigans with chalk, a basement, some ancient tongues, and some serious long-term chanting.

Note: Sorcery is based closely on Thaumaturgy in the Dresden Files RPG Your World Sourcebook. It is highly recommended to review that section as it has all the nice examples and this is merely a blog.

Casting a spell:

1. Choose a spell to cast.

2. Determine the spell’s complexity.  The GM may apply bonuses and penalties depending on the scope of the spell. Complexity is below.

3. If complexity is less than or equal to the Nephilim’s Lore, the Nephilim casts the spell.

4. If the spell’s complexity is greater than the Nephilim’s Lore, the Nephilim must prepare the spell. This represents preparation for casting the spell — creating the pentagram, putting on a funny hat, reciting words off a screen. The Nephilim may invoke Aspects to spend FATE points to have a mini-scene for preparation to help close the complexity gap.  The Nephilim may also add to the Lore by adding in ritual objects required for the spell or sitting in Power Sources like a Plexus or a Nexus.

5. If preparation still does not close the gap between the spell’s complexity and the Nephilim’s Lore, the Nephilim may accept consequences to give some of itself over to the spell to help it along.

6. Once the Nephilim can cast the spell, the Nephilim decides how much power to bring to this spell. The Nephilim can take up to its Conviction in shifts in mental power to help overcome the target’s resistance. If it puts more effort into the spell than its Conviction, it takes a box of mental stress for each shift.  The Nephilim gets an automatic Conviction shift for the spell being the same type as the Nephilim.  (Fire for fire, air for air, etc.)

7. The Nephilim rolls its Discipline. The target is the power brought to the spell (determined in step 6).

8. If the Nephilim has channeled the power in the spell, Yahtzee! Entire cities vaporize! Brains melt!

9. If the Nephilim fails, the spell backlashes, and depending on the size of the spell, this could be annoying or very, very bad.

Complexity:

1. If the spell is causing a simple action, the complexity of the spell is equal to the target number of a simple action.  For example, pyromantic temper heats any solid about the size of a cup of water.  The utility spell’s complexity is typically a 1.  The Nephilim can read the spell off the back of a fortune cookie fortune and poof.

2. If the spell inflicts a short term consequence like choking vapor or spleen the complexity depends if it is affecting the environment or a target.  If the environment, use the same as step 1 to determine target.  If the spell is on a living target, the target gets to resist.  The target number is the target’s Conviction.  If the target has a Conviction of 3, the Nephilim must overcome a 3 to get the target.  The Nephilim can add power to overcome the target’s resistance.  On success, the tag target, environment or otherwise, with a temporary Aspect like “Full of Deadly Gas” or “Addled.”

3. If the spell is to inflict a permanent consequence on a target or an environment, the complexity is that in a contest.  The complexity must account for the target’s ability to resist, his stress track, and the level of desired consequence.  Inflicting visage of terror, for example, would need to overcome a target’s Conviction, plus his mental stress track, plus enough shifts to get a consequence.  The mole bore which allows digging through the earth depends on the type of ground to burrow through (sand vs. concrete vs. metal flooring) for complexity.   All Grand Secret Spells are a Contest and the target may be modified upward for number of targets.

Weapons:

Many Higher Sorcery spells summon mystical weapons.  These are essentially evocation fireballs and lightning bolts.  The spell has no complexity but the Nephilim decides how many shifts to put into the weapon.  The mental stress is a minimum of one up to the Nephilim’s Conviction and one more stress for each level over Conviction.  Then the Discipline roll is equal to the level of power called up.

Bob the Djinn Nephilim summons sword of sun tzu (a sorcerous flaming sword.)  He has a Conviction of Superb (+5) and a Discipline of Good (+3).  He summons up 8 shifts of power for the sword.  He is a fire Nephilim so he gets one shift for free (+1).  He takes three tracks of mental stress — one for up to 6, one for 7, one for 8.  The difficulty to cast is +8 (Legendary).  He rolls his Discipline (+3) and gets a 3.  He just makes it and now he has a Weapon:8 in his hands and he is going to go to town.

The weapon disappears at the end of the scene.

Quick Note:

Contrary to original core rules a Nephilim can attain the Grand Secret stunt in character generation. A full Grand Secret Sorcerer Nephilim spent all its lives studying Sorcery and has traded many other advantages through Reincarnation to focus alone on this part of the path to Agartha. Yes, the Nephilim is a Great Sorcerer, but that does not mean the Nephilim is anywhere near ready for Enlightenment.  And it doesn’t mean it can cast the big spells often.

* Unless the spell is inscribed on the soul of the caster.

** Only available to Chariot Initiates and their specially built mystical iPods.  If anyone has grasped the 21st century, it’s the Chariot.  Anyone else has to stick to the boring, old fashioned way: dry parchment written in blood.

Stand Up and Be Counted

Having spent the last 20 years* playing in the boy’s sandbox in tech and in hobbies, I’ve long concluded that 90% of the people I meet along the way are cool and awesome and open and welcoming and want to share and explore together.  I also recognize 10% of the boys in the sandbox have a tendency toward Douchebaggery amplified by the no-filter of the Internet. It’s the 10% I’m addressing.

The sexism in gaming meme is an ever-recurring topic in gaming — rpgs, video games, board games, the whole chalupa. Someone on the Internet (or worse, in person) says something dumb, insensitive and mean, a few people pile on, a few other people pile somewhere else, feelings are hurt, women feel marginalized, they wander off to go do something more positive, and everyone decries: “This is why we have no women in gaming!”

First, there are women in gaming. Women playing games, women writing games, and women discussing games. I point to Zynga and their Money Hats to bolster my comment as proof: someone is paying for extras in those Facebook games.  The environment for women to enjoy games of all sorts, especially RPGs, is much better than it was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago.  We have been slowly coming out of the woodwork. It is better now.

Second, the women in gaming argument is like the women in engineering comment.  We have a real, serious problem in engineering with gender ratios and gender disparity.  We wring our hands and ask: “Why are there no women in engineering?” And after many years of taking data and keeping little counts I have come to the quasi-scientific conclusion that there are no women in engineering because there are no women in engineering.  Women get sick of looking around and going: hey, I’m alone here.  I could be in bioinformatics or law or medicine and not be alone anymore.  Graduate School, come to me!  I must flee this mortal toil!  And we exit stage left because a lifetime of being alone takes a special crazy mindset.  But…. if we had a few women who stuck around (like me) and decided to stick it out (like me) and maybe did a little dance and said hey, look, if we don’t all exit stage left and a few of us get old and hoary here, maybe we can entice a few more to stay… and a few more… and a few more… and someday we’ll have enough of us to do lunch!  Because in the end, insensitive words are just words and what doesn’t kill you just teaches you to mantra of no fear.

Gaming is the same way.  Yes, it’s still testosterone laden, even after the roleplaying games themselves have moved hard away from wargaming and strongly into gender-neutral storytelling-play**.  Yes, getting dumped on and ignored and targeted for nasty, uncomfortable comments from idiots on the Internet gets old. Yes, soaking stupid comments makes women who hang out in the communities feel ostracized and unwanted.  And yes, after a while, we all stand around and go: what the hell are we doing this for?  When I can do anything else?

I know this because I am old and I have been there a dozen times now.

But life’s not about giving up something we enjoy because of mean people. Gaming is fun and some of us enjoy it enough to stick it out and realize 10% of jerks does not discount the other 90%. When this rears its head, instead of hiding or yelling or getting into a flamewar, stand up and say (or post):

I am a woman and I game.

Say it right into the stream of comments.  Say it in gaming shops and at cons.  Because then the women aren’t invisible any more.  We are here and you are not speaking to some random, faceless target.  You are speaking to a human being and I am right here.  And then keep calm and carry on.

When these things erupt, the next time, it takes one woman to simply stand up and post that into the stream of Internet spew.  Just one.  The response will be ignored at best and derision at worst, but a face and name will now be attached to the target.  And maybe the time after that, it will be two.  And after that, it will be like Alice’s Restaurant.

One person does it and maybe they’ll think they’re a freak.

Two people do it and maybe they’ll think it’s a plot.

Three people do it and maybe they’re an organization.

But fifty people do it, fifty people, well, hell, then it’s a movement.

We are here.

If we all stood up to be counted, and said: “Hey, I’m a woman and I game” (MMOs or RPGs or FPSs or any other 3 letter acronym) and we stood up and we were proud, well, hell, others might just join us and be just as public and we could stop having this conversation about there being no women in gaming and it not being a place for women.  Because it is.  We just gotta show up.

And now back to my regularly scheduled boring posts no one reads.


* Holy crap! 20 years!
** Of which some of us are profoundly grateful.  And I’d like to thank all the game designers today who have made that happen, but you guys and girls know who you are.

Nephilim FATE Magic – Refresh

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.

Refresh is a nice mechanic introduced in the DFRPG to manage FATE pools and allow players to make a conscious trade-off between being FATE-point heavy and Stunt heavy.  FATE points allow a player to make some in-game choices to affect positive outcomes for their character: spend a FATE point and get a skill roll shift; spend a FATE point and frame a scene; spend a FATE point and invoke an Aspect to “do something cool.”  FATE points give PCs command over their own narrative during the game time and the Refresh limit dictates the tradeoff between just-in-time FATE spends and always-on Stunts.

Stunts modify skills.  For example, a high Endurance character might have SUPER TOUGHNESS or FAST HEAL.  The player pays for this stunt out of their character’s refresh pool.  In return for having, in essence, an always-on FATE point spend, the player spend a permanent point from their Refresh pool.  If SUPER TOUGHNESS costs -1, the player has the Stunt and now a Refresh of CAP-1.

Magic is a Stunt.  It modifies the Lore skill.  How it modifies the Lore skill depends on the Magic and the Stunt.  As all Stunts have a cost, Magic has a Refresh cost associated with it.  Thus, for example, if White Stone Alchemy has a cost of -3, the player can use White Stone Alchemy, and all that entails, as a Stunt and has a Refresh of CAP-3.

Nephilim FATE uses the Submerged Template from DFRPG — 35 skill points, 10 Refresh.  Magic-based stunts have a Refresh cost.  The Alchemist above has a 7 Refresh pool and Alchemy.  When the session ends or the GM decides the current story arc has wrapped, the player then fills the character’s Refresh pool up to a maximum of 7.

No Nephilim can go below 1 Refresh.  Less than 1 Refresh represents a state of permanent Khaiba.  The Nephililm pushed the boundaries of the forces with magic to a breaking point and no longer has any control of their self.  The Strength Arcanum* hunts down and destroys these Nephilim as they pose a threat to the Nephilim community at large.

Nephilim do have a number of Stunts they can spend their Refresh on: circles of Magic, spells inscribed on their souls, and special Arcanum tricks. First, and foremost, though, is a conversation about the Refresh costs for magic and what buying those will get a character. The next series of posts will talk exclusively about purchasing magic and casting spells.

* A Nephilim Arcanum dedicated to an Anti-Khaiba stance.

Nephilim FATE Magic – Introduction

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.

This is an overview for those who have never opened the Nephilim RPG.

Magic is the heart of the Nephilim RPG.  Magic is the glue making Nephilim go. Magic is the Nephilim path to Enlightenment.  Humans, while having some of their own routes to magic, have no direct route into controlling the primal fields the same way as Nephilim.  Only the Nephliim, made up of magical fields, can reach out and control these same fields.

Nephilim Magic divides into three areas of mastery: Sorcery, Summoning and Alchemy.  Each of these are sub-divided into three levels of Initiation.  The mastery of one of these complete Magic disciplines is one of the conditions to reach Agartha.  Mastery of higher levels requires mastery of previous lower levels of magic.  One cannot drop to the front of the line and learn the secrets of the universe without learning how to first cast a spell to light a cigarette.

Nephilim refer to magic as “occult techniques” or “the occult sciences.”  To Nephilim, magic is not magic.  It’s applied scientific theory to manipulating the cosmos.

The Occult Techniques:

Sorcery Summoning Alchemy
First Circle Lower Magic Seals Black Stone
Second Circle Higher Magic Pentacles White Stone
Third Circle Grand Secret Keys Philosopher’s Stone

Sorcery focuses on utility for the Nephilim: ability to warm a cup at a touch, send a whisper miles, understand any spoken language, restore stress, and create light.  At higher levels, Sorcery embraces the classic evocations — magical spears appear in the hands of Nephilim, gives the gift of flight, clears mental afflictions, digs through the earth.  At the very highest levels, the Nephilim manifests their own Plexus (an area of automatic +1 shift to all spells), create earthquakes, rewrite the memories of a single human being, call up a tidal wave, and bring someone back to life.

Summoning manipulates the magic fields until a sentient being with its own aims and desires manifests.  Summoners do not see the magical fields as simple ley lines of mystical power but as higher dimensions overlaid on the material world.  Summoners reach into these dimensions and invoke great powers to perform tasks.  However, those beings are sentient and ask for something in return.  The pains of failure to negotiate the summoning with the creature ranges from annoying to complete loss of the Simulacrum to the summoned creature.

Alchemy is most powerful and the hardest to master.  Alchemists look down on Summoners as religious fanatics pulling Angels and Demons out of pentacles for fun and profit, and Sorcerers as merely crude.  Alchemist are Nephilim Scientists.  They experiment their way to Agartha.  All Alchemists have an athanor, a clay and brick oven for combusting magickal substances together to produce a mastery of matter.  Many early Alchemical spells only cancel Sorcerous spells but as the Alchemist perfects their craft, they produce portable, reusable spells to create armor, shift features of a target, open third eyes to see through matter, and even raise Golems.  The ultimate Alchemist creates anything out of matter like god-creatures with power over the Earth.

Note and Aside from Me: much of the original BRP mechanics for magic suck.  The rules are horrible.  As written, the average Nephilim gets a very basic Lower Sorcery spell off about 20% of the time — horrible for some creature performing magic for 3000 years.  The alchemy rules are nearly unworkable in practice and require a constant and unthinkable sacrifice of Ka to cast spells.  I intend to radically simplify all three circles of magic to turn this into a playable system that is fun, playable and GMable but still keeps the occult flavor of Nephilim.  The stunt/skill/shift system is elegant for spellcasting; we’ll use that and move forward with sorcery tomorrow.

Nephilim Character Creation — Aspects and Incarnations and Skills and Stasis!

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.

To polish off the discussion on skills, I’ll finish off Elijah with his Aspects, Incarnations, Skills and Stasis.

In Elijah’s first incarnation, he was a religious artist to the Court of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV).  He was young, knew nothing of death, and launched his snaky self on the path to Agartha.  He joined a swanky new Arcanum, the Wheel of Fortunue, learned a bit about them and some Sorcery, and learned how to do some basic research.  He picks up some Lore, Scholarship, Craftsmanship, and a little Deceit as he learns to be Deceitful.  He dies an old man in his bed, fat on wine and with a young wife at his side.  All in all, a pretty good life!

Then, Elijah wakes in AD 30 in the body of a young Jewish Scholar.  What a better time to launch into more research on Sorcery!  And once the Fool has come and gone and all the new Cults appear in his wake, Elijah the Moon Nephilim takes advantage of an unstable political situation to build little cults around him.  He pulls out the Presence, a bit more Deceit and maybe a little more Scholarship as he learns the languages of the region.  Again he dies an ancient man having seen the rise of a new religion seeping its way across the Mediterranean.

It’s the Third Incarnation where things to horribly wrong.  Elijah incarnates into the form of one of the last of the Fisher Kings, a Merovingian clinging to the secrets of the Fool and the tattered, passed remains of the Roman Empire.  The depths of the Dark Ages is no place for a Nephilim; no research, no books, no reading.  Instead, Elijah finds himself hunted by Charlemagne’s Paladins across Central Europe.  For a while he rallies his men with his Presence, Weapons, Endurance and Survival but they find him and kill him.  Elijah is lucky — the techniques for making elixers do not exist yet.

Elijah wakes in 1590 London full of wrath and vengeance.  He throws himself into the new, hot magic of the time: Alchemy.  It’s a switch from Sorcery and more work with nastier downsides but, in some ways, more potent.  He also throws himself into the hedonist life of the Alchemist: some Lore, sure, but Deceit, Presence, Rapport, and some Empathy to pretend he cares.  He has the Conviction of his hate and the Discipline to focus it.  He develops one of his Metamorphosis as he throws himself into a life of hate for all humans around him.  He kills himself in this life with drink.

Finally, Elijah is in New York in 2011 in the body of a homeless man who was once a Physics Professor.  From his Simulacrum he gets just enough Investigation, Scholarship, Survival and Drive to start making his way back to the secret underground of the practice of magic.  But if he wants to contact his fellow Nephilim and return to the way of Agartha, he better find a way to find a way to make some cash.  Meanwhile, a WWII Secret Society, the Thule Brundeschaft, hunts all Nephilim who were once Fisher Kings because they desire the artifacts of the Fool so they can rise a new Reich: the Staff of Longinus, the True Cross, the Holy Grail.  Only the FIsher Kings know what these are and where they are hidden — and the Thule has contacts with the Order of the Black Star.  And the Black Star desires to make Nephilim into Elixers.

Elijah uses a 2 Superb, 2 Great, 2 Good, 3 Fair and 5 Average scheme for his 35 points to allocate his skills.  After working it out, Elijah has:

Superb:  Lore, Deceit
Great:  Scholarship, Presence
Good: Weapons, Survival
Fair:  Rapport, Empathy, Endurance
Average:  Drive, Investigation, Empathy, Conviction, Discipline

Elijah has some Endurance (physical), Presence (social) and Conviction (mental) skills.  These affect his stress tracks.

Endurance: OOOO
Presence: OOOOOO
Conviction: OOO

In his current Incarnation, Elijah is loaded with Moon Nephilim charisma, and some decent Physical fortitude, but he’s a little loose in the mental department: precisely what one would expect from a Serpent.

Now, if only Elijah could cast a spell, he’d be ready to find his fellow Nephilim and stop the Thule Brunderschaft from rising a new Reich!*  Time to spend time digging into the meat of Nephilim: Magic.

It’s no good without a few cloned Hitlers.

Nephilim Character Creation — (More) Skills

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.

Purchasing skills for Nephilim is almost exactly like outlined on page 65 of Dresden Files RPG, under Character Creation.  Skills and their common trappings start on page 120.  Stress Tracks are affected as dictated on page 201 of DFRPG.  A quick overview of DFRPG version Skill Pyramid as used in Nephilim FATE:

– Characters have 35 points to play with after picking Incarnations and Aspects.

– Skills cost:

Superb  – 5 Points

Great  – 4 Points

Good – 3 Points

Fair  – 2 Points

Average – 1 points

– All unpurchased skills default to Mediocre (+0).

– All skills at a level must have at least one skill on all levels below that.  For example: if a Nephilim has a +5 Superb Skill, a Nephilim must then have, at bare minimum, a +4 Great skill, a +3 Good skill, a +2 Fair skill, and a +1 Average skill.

– The Pyramid does not need precise balancing but it must have supporting skills.  A Nephilim can have 1 +5, 2 +4, 3 +3, 4 +2 and 5 +5.  It can also have 5 +3, 6 +2 and 8 +1.  And any other combination that works out to 35 points and satisfies the condition that the Nephilim has more skills on the lower levels than on the higher.  This does lend itself to more average skills and fewer “awesome” skills.

– Throughout a Nephilim’s many Incarnations, it may have a few great and amazing skills but plenty of little day-to-day ones… that may or may not be terribly applicable to the modern day.

For purchasing skills, an example:

During every cycle of Incarnation, when choosing Aspects, write down 3-5 skills.  For example, Bob the Djinn was a Roman Soldier during the Waking of the Fool in Judea 30AD.  Bon learned how to use Weapons to better kill people, he Intimidiated the poor Jews around him in the Levant, and he spent time being Alert to being jumped by locals who weren’t thrilled with Roman rule.  He may have shown off his Might in periods of rage and destruction and punched people with his meaty Djinn fists.  It was great being a Legionnaire — if you were a Djinn.  Bob’s player considers buying Weapons, Intimidating, Alertness and Might for Bob the Djinn.  When he finishes all his Incarnations, he finds he has picked Might and Intimidation several times during his Incarnations.  He decides he is going to build a 35 point pyramid with 3 Great (+4) skills, 3 Good (+3) skills, 3 Fair (+2) skills and 8 Average (+1) skills.  He assigns Might and Intimidation to two of his 3 Great slots and starts to distribute the rest of his skills.

During the same time period, Elijah the Serpent Moon Nephilim was a Jewish Scholar who worked quietly in Jerusalem until all hell broke loose.  He focused mainly on his Sorcery and Wheel of Fortune* Lore and his Jewish Scholarship.  He focused his mind and taught himself to be Disciplined in his research and to push out everything else to focus on the path to Agartha, something private Serpents excel at.  After the coming of the Fool, he, like many others, put himself forward as a False Prophet of the Fool and picked up a bit of snaky Presence – a skill that serves him well later.  After his Incarnations, he finds he uses the same skills over and over so he decides on a less balanced 2 Superb (+5), 2 Great (+4), 2 Good (+3), 3 Fair (+2) and 5 Average (+1) skills.  The Lore will go into one of the Superb slots — Elijah has spent many lives studying magic and its ways — and Scholarship into a Great slot.  Presence goes into one of the Good slots.  He assigns Discipline into a Fair slots.

I am not listing all the skills and their trappings.  If you have interest in the complete DFRPG skill list and the trappings, I urge you to go buy a copy of the Dresden Files RPG.  It’s won 2 Origin Awards, it is up for nearly a gazillion Ennies, and it was written by awesome people.  The link is up top; make with the clicky.

* These are both Trappings of the same skill (Lore) so they are both just considered Lore.

Nephilim Character Creation — Skills

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.

The BRP version of Nephilim has lots of skills.  Lots and lots and lots of skills.  Some of the skills have sub-skills.  Some of those skills have sub-skills pertinent to only certain time periods.  Most of the character sheet comprises of lines of skills with numbers by them to define if they are nephilim skills or simulacrum skills and much hand-waving between using one or the other.

DFRPG has a concise list of skills with trappings.  Trappings are instances where the skill is used.  Skills are augmented with Stunts.  The skills are simple things like Guns or Intimidation.  Nice and clean.

For Nephilim, we make a few changes:

* Magic skills (sorcery, summoning, alchemy) are part of Lore.  They are highly augmented by Stunts.

* Arcanum lore is also under Lore.  If one has joined the Arcanum (an Aspect) and has a Lore skill, one can roll their Lore skill to get information in that Aspect.

* Languages (Spoken) are free for living in that time period.  It’s sort of silly to believe if you lived in Ancient Greece and your Simulacrum lived for 100 years you somehow don’t know how to speak Ancient Greek.  Although you’ll have a heck of a time ordering a gyro in modern Athens…

* Languages (Written) require a Scholarship roll and having lived in that time period. If you were in Judea in 30AD during the Fool in an Incarnation that could read and write, a Scholarship roll covers your ability to read and write Latin.  Although Medieval Latin will look strange to your eyes.

* General knowledge for living in a time period you lived in is free.  Specific knowledge of that time period also comes under Scholarship.   

* You can Drive a car and Drive a Chariot and a high speed chase is a high speed chase.

* Working with boats also comes under Drive.  It is a bit of a conceptual stretch — while fly planes and pilot boats and drive cars all should come under one skill, it is ultimately “Drive Craft.”

* Some skills cannot be bought during an Incarnation if the physical invention did not exist.  For example, no one can buy Guns before Guns exist.

* While an Intimidation skill is timeless, some skills don’t apply so well to the modern day if they were learned in the past.  If a Nephilim tries to, say, make a Craftsmanship roll on a skill he picked up in the 1700s to fix a modern clock radio, the GM is free to lift the target for the roll appropriately.

* If a Nephilim truly has a Farming Incarnation, he can put farming under Craftsmanship.

* The GM can place appropriately high target numbers on a Nephilim trying to use the skills bought in their current incarnation — their Simulacrum skills.  As a rule of thumb, all target numbers for skills on the Simulacrum are one level higher than they would be normally as the Nephilim must go through their Simulacrum to puzzle out how this new gee-gaw or gadget works.  This includes driving cars, using computers, or any other trappings of modernity.

Next up, buying skills through incarnations to build a skill pyramid…

Nephilim Character Creation – Quick Checkpoint

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.

So far I’ve covered some very basics of Nephilim character creation by changing Incarnations into packages of Aspects, assigning a Stasis, changing the Nephilim Metamorphosis, and giving them Khaiba to prod them along.  Yet they are still missing skills, wound meters, stunts, a good way to pick an Arcanum, and the crucial bit: magic.  What good is a Nephilim who cannot summon the Things that Creep and Nibble to consume their neighbor’s car in a fit of pique?  Or cannot walk through the Mall randomly casting Spleen on unsuspecting people?  And where are the Templars?  Yet, still, there are no Templars!

To show where the conversion is so far, I’ll give Elijah the Serpent Moon Nephilim a few Incarnations and some Aspects to get him off the ground, so to speak.  This will change a bit as the rules get more fleshed out.

Character: Elijah the Serpent Moon Nephilim

Current Simulacrum: Matthew Bohm, Homeless Man

Stasis: Middle Kingdom Scarab with the Weighing of the Heart Ceremony written on one side.

First Metamorphosis: Deceitful, eyes turn to serpent when deceiving another person

First Incarnation: Religious Artist in Thebes 1350 BC

Aspects: Joined the Wheel of Fortune Arcana, Mystic Astrologer

Second Incarnation: Jewish Scholar, Judea 30 AD

Aspects: Witnessed the Fool, Initiate of Sorcery

Third Incarnation: High Noble Lord, Aachen 830

Aspects: Merovingian, Murdered by Paladins (omg)

Fourth Incarnation: Alchemist, London 1590

Aspects: Indulgent (everyone also imbibes around the Serpent),  Kabbalistic Alchemy

Current Incarnation: Homeless Man, New York 2011

Aspects: Unemployed Physics Professor, Hunted by the Thule Brunderschaft

Khaiba Meter: OOOOxxxxxx

Elijah has had several full incarnations.  He has a stasis.  He has mastered two of his five Metamorphsis states, joined the Wheel of Fortune, and dug into Sorcery and Alchemy. He was there at the Incarnation of the Fool.  He was murdered by Charlemagne’s thuggish Paladin Nephilim hunters and has a sworn enemy — surely some secret society is a descendant of them out there, somewhere.  And he has incarnated into the body of a homeless man in New York City, a homeless man who, before he went mad, was a physics professor at a respected university.  Perhaps he can tap into his Simulacrum to push forward an agenda of magic and vengeance.  Meanwhile, the Thule Brunderschaft hunts any Nephilim alive during the era of the Merovingian Fisher Kings as they are the ticket to retrieving the Holy Grail and the Thule, still dreaming of world conquest, see it as their ticket to a new Reich….

Naturally, the next steps to building a complete character are skills and the skill Pyramid.  Then some insight into the Arcana before digging seriously into FATE Refresh and magic.