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.
Nephilim is both the best and worst game you have never heard of. It used everyone’s favorite system BRP in a tortured and hideous way to bring to life a neat occult game about immortal beings endlessly dying and reincarnating and fighting over trivial matters. I am in the mood to think about Nephilim because I am in the middle of Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver, a very Nephilim novel indeed.
One of the most compelling parts of the old RPG was in the character creation. A player would pick several past lives in several interesting bits of history and pick skills/stats/magic/thingies gained from that period. This works much better in the Dresden Files FATE build than in BRP* and using the system for picking Aspects.
So let’s say you, a Nephilim dude, were around in the French Revolution. Well, you could pick up the aspect of Revolutionary! but how fun is that? It’s an occult game, after all, with magic and secret societies and rivals who chase you through multiple lifetimes and secrets of the universe and alchemy that Works Works Works!
There’s a ton of Nephilim background here that I’m not going to fill in right away but just assume that the main Nephilim secret societies are based on the Tarot and there is sorcery and alchemy and summoning all to master all the while busy living and turning slowly into some other… thing and having Templars trying to kill you.** And you, the player, want to define Aspects for that past life.
Instead of one aspect per section, you get two — you are, after all, super old and these might be very weird aspects (like CENTURION for Ancient Rome or PRIESTESS OF ISIS for Ptolemaic Egypt) that would come into play in super weird aspects. But for your past lives you pick two out of three: two of [Magic, Past Life, Secret Society]. For example:
In ANCIENT ROME, you lived as a CENTURION and developed your FIRST CIRCLE SORCERY but you neglected your contacts with JUSTICE and fell away from your circle.
In a later life you lived in PRE-REVOLUTIONARY FRANCE you schmoozed with ALCHEMISTS of the rankest order and hung out with the LOVERS (your new society after Justice kicked you to the curb) but you didn’t follow through on your role as a DRUNKEN ARISTOCRAT… with predictable results.
And so now you end up with this neat and eclectic set of aspects from just two life times. Three lifetimes you have alone, two lifetimes you have with other players. Ten aspects all which can be invoked at the very strangest times.
This would work for any HIGHLANDER-like game with immortals living the span of time.*** The should have an eclectic collection of aspects.
Anyway, eventually, I will have all of Nephilim FATE chargen cobbled together. But the aspects thing made me particularly happy because they worked so well.
* A smack to the head is better than Nephilim’s BRP implementation. And apologies out there to all smacks to the head.
** Like I said, it’s an awesome game with a terrible system.
*** You can’t drown, you fool, you’re immortal!