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Posts posted by MoonRightRomantic

  1. On 2/22/2021 at 7:13 AM, RogerDee said:

    Sun and Moon energies could be polar opposites, and Dark Moon even more so.

    I think that misunderstands the cosmological constraints that Nephilim setup. All of the elements are derived from Solar-Ka, each representing a fraction of its infinite possibility. This is a key conceit of the setting from which other aspects follow.

    • Like 1
  2. So combat currently requires three rolls in normal situations. One percentile roll to attack, one percentile roll to defend (parry or dodge), and one non-percentile roll to inflict damage.

    Are there any optional rules to reduce this further? For example, reducing combat rounds to just the players rolling defense rolls to determine how much damage they suffer?

  3. On 7/6/2020 at 6:28 AM, RogerDee said:

    Honestly i would certainly incorporate Champions Mystic World, which is essentially similar to the realms from Gurps Cabal, just more detailed.

    Next I would certainly think about including Grand Grimoire for 7e, for magic, and perhaps, even Cthulhu Pulp to make the characters more cinematic, and interesting.

    As I am thinking about incorporating Nephilim, as well as Everlasting Davea (Supernatural Pagan deities are a carbon copy really), and Highlander into a Buffy type environment - I certainly want different kinds of Nephilim.

    So the Highlander immortals would essentially be empowered by positive energy (DnD / Pathfinder) or Alpha (Alpha Omega rpg). Vampires would be the exact opposite, meaning both would essentially be hard pressed to associate with one another. Although I did potentially toy with the idea of the Highlander immortals being a shattered elder god (Evil Author off SB and FF.net) did something similar but an Old One instead.

    Daeva could be empowered through being born into a nexus, igniting the fire of their 'divinity'.

    At this point, you're making an entirely new game.

    I have been entertaining the idea of devising an urban fantasy game myself. I'm not married to any particular system, so I suppose I'd be okay with doing a systemless setting or compatible with multiple types of OGC systems like d20, GORE, or Action!.

    There are just so many different subgenres. Gothic horror soap opera, paranormal political thriller, splatterpunk, mystery investigations, monster hunters, occult revelation...

    Speaking of The Everlasting, I thought their Osirian character option was an interesting riff on Mage: The Ascension and Nephilim. In The Everlasting, anyone can potentially learn the rules' freeform magic system with the limitation that a single character is only able to ever learn a single magical tradition such as wicca, druidism, Taoism, or less conventional traditions like "techgnosticism." The Osirians are reincarnating magicians who can learn the precepts of all other traditions because they understand the meta-magic underlying all the different traditions.

    If I was designing an urban fantasy setting and wanted to give my wizard characters special treatment, then that's probably the same direction I'd go in.


    On 1/10/2021 at 12:47 PM, SunlessNick said:
    • I'd change the elements a bit, replacing Moon with Metal.  In the Middle Ages, metal was regarded as a close balance of the four elements, and of course the Chinese system swaps out Air for Metal and Wood - that makes both workable as imperfect analogues to the truth.  All five elements being forms of matter has better symmetry. In astrological terms, Metal would tie to Saturn, while Orichalka would be reallocated to the asteroid belt - this is why it expresses of other elements.
    • However, Moon would still exist as a different type of human immortal, rooted in perfection of mind and body.

    I can't say I'm a fan of changing Moon to Metal. All the symbolism doesn't work as well with Metal: the proximity to Earth and Water, the associations with darkness and nocturnal creatures, reptiles because they shed their skin, madness and biological illness, dreams and illusions, etc. Not to mention, each of the elements already has correspondences with particular metals (e.g. gold w/ Sun, silver w/ Moon, lead w/ Saturn).

    There's no occult or philosophical basis for it, I don't think. The classical elements were descriptions of how the world was composed, whereas the Wuxing are about phases of process and change. Furthermore, the Nephilim pentacle is already arranged basically the same as the Wuxing pentacle.

    But YMMV.

    On 1/10/2021 at 12:47 PM, SunlessNick said:

    Black Moon and Selenim would be character options - both humans and Nephilim can become Selenim, though humans need the help of an existing one.

    The French version would go on to introduce various other options: Nephilim "cruxim" with only four elements, Selenim "graftees" with additional elements grafted on, Nephilim "rejects" with their lunar branch blackened, rumored "Necronim" who had all six elements including moon and black moon (and could incarnate in corpses?), and the Ar-KaIm who had Solar-Ka and Orichalka and potentially all the rest. There were several factions (not arcana) that dealt specifically with this like the 666 and Orichalquiens. (Basically, the French version was weird.)

    I think we could stand to introduce a more standardized way of handling various combinations of elements.

    On 1/10/2021 at 12:47 PM, SunlessNick said:
    • Some humans would be able to awaken one of the Nephilim elements in themselves, and practice a degree of sorcery without having to resort to stuff like elixirs.
    • And some humans would be able to awaken their Sun, which grants them an air of spiritual authority and influence.  When you hear about people having mana, or farr, this is where it comes from.
    • Regular humans or members of secret societies would be an option too.

    The Secret Societies sourcebook introduced rules for the Mithradites who had more refined Solar-Ka that gave them some mystical abilities over other awakened mortals, and the Fraternitas Saturnii who had rules for cultivating Saturnian-Ka within themselves and casting Saturnian spells. The book gives only a little detail on the Cultes des Ghoules, but in the French version the Selenim are able to infect mortals (both the living and the dead) with a connection to the Black Moon field using their necromancy.

    Again, this could probably be standardized. As a collective character option, you could call mortals with awakened ka "Bohemians" after a similar character option in the French. Maybe give them their own Minor Arcana or Chimerical Arcana, since the English version doesn't have minor arcana. (Credit to ganonso for the idea he presented on rpgnet and spacebattles.)

  4. On 11/28/2020 at 8:56 AM, RogerDee said:

    A good example of this could be a version of Highlander immortals which would fit really well into Nephilim.

    You mean the immortals that battle to the death with katanas in order to consume each others' souls until the last survivor becomes a god?

    If so, then I don't think that's a good fit at all.

    Nephilim isn't about narcissistic demigods violently duking it out for control of the world like in World of Darkness. It's about revelation and transcendence. The characters are reincarnating immortals. They've lived many human lives. They've been monarchs, peasants, prophets and more. They know humanity more intimately than it knows itself. Eventually, all immortals decide to pursue the Golden Path to Agartha, to become bodhisattvas. Even the Emperor Arcanum, which is focused entirely on accumulating temporal power, believes that temporal power is merely a means to that end rather than the end itself. 

    Or, to put it less pretentiously, BECMI with Indiana Jones instead of Aragorn.

  5. I found discussion of nephilim/simulacrum relations in part two very interesting. However, I feel there are two problems with the way Andrew explains this.

    Firstly, the game itself actually does a fairly poor job of explaining how a nephilim character actually thinks. The nephilim aren't explained as human beings married with an elemental power, they're explained as reincarnating elemental spirits. The very usage of the term simulacrum ("an image or representation of someone or something. an unsatisfactory imitation or substitute.") is inherently dehumanizing. While this sort of alchemical marriage thinking might be easy to grok for someone who is already familiar with the hermetic conception of daimones, it won't be familiar to the vast majority of RPG players unless it is explained in the text itself. That's why the fandom has been debating it since the beginning.

    Secondly, the way the game is structured where you have to create a bunch of past lives at the beginning is a big barrier to new players. I think it would have made things far easier if player characters could recall past lives during play. This would also give the player more time to develop the lives of these past incarnations and give them more relevance, perhaps working with the GM to work them into the events of an adventure. The GM could also create past lives for the player characters and reveal them during play while tying them into the events of an adventure. IIRC, the French version of the game apparently included a mechanic like that.

  6. On 9/8/2020 at 4:47 AM, Mugen said:

    I honestly wonder what is the incentive to play this version of the game over Mage:the Awakening, which is also a game focusing on occult mysteries, and not the metaphysical game that is Ascension.

    Except, obviously, if you dislike the WoD/CoD rules, which is a perfectly fine reason to play another game.

    The secret societies are more concrete antagonists than the Seers of the Throne. They have concrete goals relevant to the nephilim themselves: hunt down nephilim in order to drain their blood or transform nephilim into homunculus slaves.

    On 9/8/2020 at 4:47 AM, Mugen said:

    Ar-Kaïm were not well-received in France, where they were seen as an unnecessary excuse to play "manga/anime" (Saint Seiya/Knights of the Zodiac, essentially) characters in a setting that originally focused on occult inquiries over violence and fights.

    I think they were introduced as a way to have simpler characters, and not a problem with the concept of spirits living in human bodies, which was never a big concern for french players.

    Fair enough. I still think it would be interesting to explore the concept of immortals who (potentially) have all eight elements or otherwise non-standard arrangements.


  7. On 7/20/2020 at 5:14 AM, RogerDee said:

    Where does it say in the Chaosium version that they are humans with past lives?

    i thought it stated that the Kaim were incorporeal beings forced to possess humans, and have an anchor in order to prevent discorporation or something?


    On 7/20/2020 at 5:52 AM, Mugen said:

    The way I understand the message in your quote, it's not about the Chaosium version of Nephilim, but rather a version that originated on a mailing list.


    On 7/20/2020 at 5:54 AM, RogerDee said:

    You are quite right, my mistake.


    In the French version, the KaIm started to deteriorate due to the presence of the magic field of Orichalc brought by the meteor. They discovered that by discarding their physical forms and possessing human bodies they could avoid this deterioration, as human bodies were not poisoned by Orichalc. Thus they became the Nephilim, i.e. all Nephilim are former KaIm who lived since at least 10,000 years ago when the meteor fell. The secret societies created the stasis objects as traps for the Nephilim, but then it was discovered that the Nephilim's spirits would be expelled from the stasis during certain astrological conjunctions and given the chance to possess a human body. If the stasis was destroyed, then the Nephilim would cease to exist.

    This backstory raises a number of questions, such as why the secret societies didn't simply kill the nephilim or how nephilim could survive long enough to be imprisoned in stasis objects made long after the fall of the meteor. In the Chaosium adaptation, the stasis objects were changed to creations of the nephilim to survive disembodiment and it was explained that nephilim were still born in spiritual form up to the present. I prefer this version because it plugs the plot holes I noticed.

    A number of critics in the Anglosphere didn't like the nephilim because they were body thieves. Even some of the writers shared this opinion, and the old mailing list had lots of arguments and discussions about this. The current home of the mailing list hosts a partial rewrite of the game (titled Ex Oculis) where the nephilim aren't (necessarily) body thieves, if you're interested.

    I would like to note that the French version introduced the Ar-KaIm in the third edition, who were depicted explicitly as awakened human beings rather than elemental spirits stealing human bodies. Selenim with the "natural Selenim" origin were depicted as human beings who awakened to the Black Moon, too. I found it quite odd that there weren't any Nephilim with the same origin. The first edition of the French version, upon which the Chaosium adaptation was based, stated Nephilim were still born up to the present; in the second edition this was retconned to "astrological nephilim", who became the Ar-KaIm in third edition. Unlike the natural Selenim, the Ar-KaIm don't follow the same rules as their Nephilim counterparts. Rather than occult sciences, they have "talents" that more closely resemble Aberrant-style superpowers. (To make things even more confusing, the Selenim sourcebook introduces Nephilim/Selenim hybrids who run on their own rules too. The third edition is the cleanest mechanically, but it still has oddities like that.)

    If I was working with the Nephilim game today, then I'd really like to clean up all these messy rules. I'd use universal foundations for occult sciences, metamorphosis, origins, elements, etc and invent new sub-systems only when absolutely necessary.

    • Like 1

    On 7/6/2020 at 1:30 PM, RogerDee said:

    The Chaosium version was okay but once you start reading the French stuff you see how much better it really is. So i really hope they do.


    I disagree. I wouldn’t be interested in a faithful translation of the French version. I read a let’s read on rpgnet and the immortals come across as huge jerks. I prefer the English mailing list’s take on the immortals as human beings with past lives rather than body-stealing parasites.

  9. 11 hours ago, g33k said:

    Do you mean a revision of the  BigGoldBook?


    11 hours ago, g33k said:

    Then no; or at least, "not soon."

    That is bizarre. You would think they would update it before releasing the BRP SRD. The current SRD is adapted from the BGB 4e. It doesn't include any revisions made since 2007.

  10. I’m currently trying to adapt the past life rules from Nephilim to generic BRP, using Enlightened Magic as a basis. I’m wondering if anyone else already did so or if there is already a past life mechanic scattered among the many d100-compatible books.

    The simplest method would be to simply generate a whole character for each past life, but I’d like to simplify that so that it isn’t unwieldy in play.

    I’d like to include additional sub-mechanics like measuring how well the PC recalls the past life, any legacy of the past life that survives to the present (basically like the perks/flaws/traits or similar mechanics in other systems), and the capacity to develop occult traits that don’t degrade between incarnations.

    It’s a precursor to a full-blown adaptation and revision of Nephilim to modern BRP I’m planning, but I figured the past lives concept could easily be adapted for generic usage.

  11. I've been hanging around the nephilim mailing list, and Shannon Patrick recently uploaded "Ex Oculis" (ExO), an abandoned attempt from ~2010 to try writing a new edition of the game. I've been working through some homebrew ideas for a new edition myself, based on the Enlightened Magic supplement for general BRP. I did plan on taking ideas from ExO, tho. I'd just call the result "Nephilim: Ex Oculis" since I'm not really doing all that much new with it besides general revisions and additions.

    The biggest change compared to Chaosium's first edition is that the immortals would be written as reincarnating human beings rather than spirits that possess human beings. In terms of lore there would be plenty who undergo radical personality shifts after their awakening, but the PCs would be awakened humans so that players would have an easier time connecting with them. I find it bizarre that gamers would have a problem with playing possessing spirits but not murderous vampires, but whatever.

    I wouldn't intimidate players with the full secret history starting out, but allow them to discover it during play and leave it more ambiguous and subject to GM whims rather than laying it out as gospel. For example, I'd basically keep Chaosium's secret history from the Gamemaster's Companion the same aside from dividing the ka'im (elemental spirits) and nephilim (awakened humans) into two different species to smooth over the transition; other GMs might decide to rewrite it entirely.

    A key distinction from other urban fantasy games is the past lives. Unlike certain other games were you have a metaplot that's essentially irrelevant unless you invest in it like a comic book fan, the immortal PCs may have personally taken part in historical events during past lives that can be recalled during play if so desired. Perhaps your character's past life included an architect who designed Göbekli Tepe, a Loa who funded the Haitian Revolution, a Catholic missionary who tried to stop the conquistadors from butchering the Aztecs and Mayans, a founding father of the United States who opposed British rule, a member of the Bolsheviks who sought a better life for your family, or a Slavic vampire lord who fought nazis intruding on your domain by summoning monsters from the Cthulhu mythos.

    I would include the selenim (mentioned but never published in the Chaosium supplements) and ar-ka'im (from the French 3rd edition) as character options from the onset. The selenim are a mix of succubus and medium who inspired myths of vampires, lycanthropes, and zombies. The ar-ka'im are able to potentially use all eight elements, but their magic reserves are more unstable. The secret history and nephilim are already changed dramatically from the French version, so I would not write them faithfully to the French version but introduce my own twists. For example, the selenim in the French version could not reincarnate due to writer fiat, but my setting would allow them to a la the Blue Blood novels by Melissa de la Cruz. Likewise, I would allow options for nephilim to have eternal youth or mortals to have limited elemental powers (c.f. the Fraternitas Saturni cultivating Saturnian Ka within themselves in Secret Societies).

    In terms of mechanics revisions, I would adapt the magic points mechanic so that characters would have a reserve of magic points for each of their elemental POW/Ka-Element characteristics. The mechanics for recovering and spending magic points would be more detailed, including consequences for overcharging. I was inspired after reading the French version (where the ar-ka'im's instability was related to overcharge) and the magic point rules in RQ6.

    ExO introduced a new sanity system based on the madness meters in Unknown Armies, which I liked and wanted to adapt too. This would replace and revise the previous "degeneration" mechanics from Nephilim. There are five madness meters (identity/self, isolation, unnatural, helpless, violence) which are associated with the five elements, and a fifth madness meter just for the immortals associated with their dominant ka. Concepts like khaiba, narcosis, and shouit would be translated into psychological (and possibly magical) disorders.

    What do you guys think?


  12. On 10/26/2019 at 7:27 PM, SunlessNick said:

    As well as Orichalka/Black Sun, Major Arcana had the Star Arcanum believing they'd detected a Stellar Ka, although they couldn't do anything much with it

    The rulebook mentioned eight elements, not six or seven. Sun/Solar, Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Moon/Lunar, Black Moon/Lunar, and Black Sun/Saturnian/Orichalka.

    Alien Ka is such a fascinating concept given Nephilim’s cosmology.


    On 10/17/2019 at 2:42 PM, Ian Absentia said:

    Also, Taoist "elements" is kind of a translational misnomer.  They're seen more as influences than physical substances.  So it's not a matter of being made of wood, but being like unto or affected by the nature of wood.


    In the French, the “shen” (Chinese nephilim, called “xian-ren” on the English mailing list) purified their Air Ka and Lunar Ka to create Wood Ka and Metal Ka (or Qi). Nephilim’s pentacle is identical to the Wu Xing pentacle except for that rename (Air=Wood, Lunar=Metal).

    IIRC from the archives of the old 90s mailing list discussions, you guys were considering that non-Western nephilim would have different elements (the French version had vaguely similar ideas in its Exiles supplement, like the historical Ghost Dance disabling orichalka in North America). Nowadays, I personally find that unnecessary (and like a lot of 90s RPG material concerning foreign cultures, often extremely ignorant and unintentionally offensive) since Nephilim’s default cosmology already owes plenty to taoist alchemy and other non-Western occultism.

  13. 20 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

    As I've noted before, I've always found this odd, because a huge swath of the gaming population of the era had no problem playing the undead version of Patty Hearst.  It was doubly weird that critics (doubtful that they were players) identified with the body of the character and not the consciousness, a divide that was kind of the point of the game.

    True.  On one hand, character creation involved rolling up, effectively, a separate character for each Past Life (usually 3 to 5 in my experience), on top of sorting out your Nephilim nature and your current Simulacrum identity.  It was a lot of bookkeeping that created a steep entry/impediment to play.  On the other hand, it was daunting to have a character rooted in several historical eras, not all of which you or the GM might know anything about.  The deep, deep backstory was supposed to be vague, poorly-recalled (if at all) and hand-wavy, so I never considered that a problem.

    Lesson learned:  Build a game with an accessible point of entry and allow players to grow into their characters.


    Yep. Even today, what makes Nephilim stand out from World of Darkness is that the protagonists aren’t a*holes trying to conquer the world so they can enslave and/or eat humanity. The secret societies, the villains, are the ones trying to conquer the world and performing mass human sacrifice. That should be obvious from the fact that in the secret history of Nephilim the very mortal secret societies were responsible for the Holocaust.

    As for the second point, I think that making the game more accessible (e.g. starting as a normal person awakening to the occult underworld, recalling past lives during play, etc) would necessarily require changing the nephilim to awakened humans rather than elemental spirits stealing human bodies. The KaIm can still exist in the lore as the creators of humanity and ancestors of the nephilim, and it makes sense to me that their experiments yielded fruit in the form of humans awakening as nephilim.

    This would also fit into the multiple modern meanings of the Hebrew world nephilim. It means “fallen ones”, either from grace (fallen angels) or in battle (demigod heroes). The former would be KaIm, the later awakened elemental humans. At least that is what I think.

    I have been brainstorming a lot on trying to integrate nephilim, selenim, and ar-kaim (and various other weird options like the cruxim and the 666) into the setting as awakened humans, as well as various other cosmological concerns. The original French game was, like a lot of 90s games, really haphazard and messy in its rules and setting. The scanned translation of Selenim, for example, is full of rambling tangents and weird ideas unsupported by concrete rules. For example, one paragraph speculates that Saurians live on Saturn and sent the Orichalka meteor in vengeance for their dead kin. The English adaptation was so much cleaner and concise, even reviews by French gamers applaud it.

  14. 12 hours ago, Questbird said:

    I admit I am a dabbler when it comes to Nephilim. The movie 'Highlander' is one way to approach its concepts. In that movie the Connor MacLeod character "awakens" in the Scottish Highlands in 1536. He is immortal but has no awareness of past lives. He became an awakened human at that point. Other 'Nephilim-like' characters in that movie had been around for longer, including the big baddie.

    Highlander seems to have been a major inspiration for a lot of the urban fantasy roleplaying games of the 1990s. A lot of them were dismissed as knock-offs of White Wolf, but that is unfair.

    Incoming rant! I for one dislike White Wolf's virtual monopoly on the urban fantasy roleplaying game market for the last thirty-odd years. Whenever people tell me to play a White Wolf game or make reference to their games as some kind of game industry standard (as if no other games exist and White Wolf doesn't liberally steal all their ideas from elsewhere), I get peeved. Most of the reason I am interested in Nephilim is because it isn't White Wolf: even thirty-odd years after its first publication, it's a breath of fresh air in the stagnant American market.

    1 hour ago, Mugen said:

    Ar-kaïm were not really well received by french audiences, who considered them as an attempt to make the game more action-oriented and leaning towards Super-Hero/Manga-anime genres (see for instance the poor ratings the Codex des Ar-Kaïm received...)

    Surely, the correlations that could be made with the anime "knights of the zodiac" were no stranger to this feeling.

    Fair enough. As I said, the English fandom had the opposite problem. There seemed to be a general dislike of the nephilim for 1) being body-stealing parasites, and 2) overwhelming new players with massive backstory and complicated character creation.

    • Like 1
  15. I’m surprised I only discovered it recently, but apparently the French third edition introduced the idea of “natural” nephilim who are essentially awakened humans. More specifically, the ar-kaïm and “natural” selenim.

    In prior editions it was mentioned that new nephilim could be born from Nexuses (carried over in English adaptation), but this was later retconned: all nephilim were former KaIm that were imprisoned in stases (in the French stasis was a prison made by secret societies, not nephilim) and incarnated in human bodies.

    The ar-kaïm were humans awakened with elemental powers but they lacked past lives; one supplement referred to them as “astrological nephilim” (as their character concept was based on zodiac signs).

    The selenim were mostly former nephilim, but some were spontaneously born from humans like ar-kaïm. They lacked past lives too.

    What I find odd is that this concept of awakened humans was never carried over to the nephilim proper.

    I wonder how these concepts could be worked into Ex Oculus. I asked the groups.io list about ExOc and am waiting on a response.

    • Like 1
  16. On 9/25/2019 at 9:00 AM, umlauthuth said:

    The Yithians lack the “literally they’re just nephilim tho” angle that Dunwich Horror has. 

    Are the nephilim sympathetic, or is the game material just written from a nephilim-centric viewpoint?

    The English adaptation was not a faithful translation. It made a bunch of changes to the lore and replaced core mechanics in supplements. About a decade ago some of the freelancers and other Nephilim fans from the mailing list drafted plans for a new edition tentatively named Ex Oculus. In this setting, the nephilim were changed to reincarnating human souls with elemental powers. It paid lip-service to the prior edition by claiming there was evidence to the contrary without ever showing any and letting PCs choose their own POV. 

    The English adaptation’s awakened human concept appears loosely in the French third edition as the character type Ar-Kaïm. They are awakened humans with elemental powers, but no past lives or ancient identity. They deal primarily with mundane concerns over occult.

    I would really like to see the English adaptation get a chance to explore its nascent ideas. Concepts like selenim, xian-ren, shamanism, revised summoning, and so forth never got explored in the new lore and rules context. I have no idea how ar-kaïm would be handled therein.

    With the yahoo group shuttering, the English mailing list archives are being deleted forever and the few people who posted recently have moved to a new list on groups.io opened by Shannon Patrick. Sadly the cost to easy import the yahoo archives is too high ($200 last I checked) so it never sent out a message to the whole member list. Until December this is your last chance to archive anything.

  17. I agree that a BRP Rules Companion would be useful. Things like potency vs severity for diseases/poisons, percentile characteristics, and other innovations from BRP products released since 4th edition. Not only that, but I would love it if forgotten rules from old supplements could be referenced and revised as well, like Nephilim's potency mechanics (expanded from disease/poison to apply libraries and other things) and changing Appearance to Charisma, or RuneQuest's various spirits that could do things like storing power points, healing, causing madness or disease, etc. At least if equivalents don't already exist, do they? The BRP catalogue is extensive and difficult for me to parse.

  18. So the summoning system never received a revision like the sorcery and alchemy systems did. Sorcery was revised in the Liber Ka sourcebook. Alchemy was revised in the unpublished Slaying the Dragon sourcebook. Both systems were revised and reprinted in Enlightened Magic for BRP.

    The closest we have to a revision of summoning is the third circle spell "Summoning" on page 54 of Enlightened Magic. Could that be expanded into a whole enlightened summoning skill with three circles?


    Here are a couple extracts from the old mailing list: 


    From: Doyle Wayne Ramos-Tavener tavener@mail1.rcsntx.swbell.net
    Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 17:44:34 -0500
    Subject: Summoning Rules, Part 1

    I have been anxious to finish this and show it to the list, and so have decided to split it into three parts.

    This part contains some raw rules material. The second will be four entities available to a summoner under these rules. The third will be explanations, justifications, misgivings and apologies.



    The Magic Circle, Assistants and Ritual Tools
    The Magic Circle, as described in Liber Ka, functions identically in Summoning. In addition, The Summoner's Ka may be raised by the presence of Assistants in the same manner as described in Liber Ka. Finally, Ritual Tools, as described in Liber Ka, can be created for exclusive use in Summoning Rituals.

    The Ritual of Summoning
    This ritual is normally referred to as the 'Operation'. To perform an Operation, you must first design a ritual. This requires a variable amount of time, dependent on the Circle involved, and may require successful Research, Hermetic Lore, Astrological Lore and Kabbalistic Lore rolls, as required by the Gamemaster.

    After the design process, the Operation may be performed. An Operation normally has the following structure.

    The Evocation
    First is the Evocation, which calls up the presence of the entity. To simulate the Evocation, roll Lesser Theurgy, Invocation or Greater Theurgy. The Gamemaster makes this roll.
    Success = The Operation will work.
    Critical = The Operation will work, and the summoner is treated as having a Ka (either Dominant or Elemental) of 3 greater than normal for the purposes of that Operation alone.
    Failure = The being summoned or generated will not appear. The Operation must be redesigned, and performed on another day.
    Fumble = The Operation is flawed. However, The Entity might appear, at the Gamemaster's discretion. It the Entity does appear, the Summoner will be treated as having a Ka (either Dominant or Elemental) of one-half the value she would normally have, for the rest of the Operation.

    The Adjuration

    Then comes the Adjuration, which forces an oath to obey from the entity Evoked. A Nephilim may impose its will directly on the Evoked entity by matching its Dominant Ka (or appropriate Ka-Element) against the Dominant Ka (or appropriate Ka-Element) against the entity on the Resistance Table. The Nephilim may draw Ka from its Stasis as usual, but Blood Sacrifice is not possible, since the Nephilim is matching its might against another entity, not causing a magical change in the world.

    This method is not available to humanity, since they may not bring their Solar-Ka to bear against other Ka-Elements. Instead, an Awakened human must match the Ka of an Elixir, Sacrifice, or Homunculus used against the Ka of the entity summoned.

    In addition, the Nephilim (or Awakened human) may use Invocation in order to help dominate the entity summoned. Invocation is discussed below, under 2nd Circle Summoning.

    Once the total Ka values have been calculated, the Gamemaster rolls the Ka vs. Ka conflict on the Resistance Table.
    Success = The entity will obey the Conjuration, within the limits of its ability.
    Critical = The entity will obey the Conjuration, within the limits of its ability, as well as suggest and offer aid above that which is required.
    Failure, Fumble = The entity rebukes the summoner, and seeks to break the Magical Circle. To do so it matches its Ka vs. the Ka Strength of the Circle. If this roll succeeds, the summoner suffers the effects of the 'Failed Adjuration' entry for the entity involved.

    The Conjuration
    The Conjuration comes next, which are the instructions that you give to an entity. It must obey, if it was subject to a successful Adjuration. Such instructions are dependent on the type of entity summoned. Entities perform only those Conjurations that are appropriate to them. In each entry for an entity are listed some possible Conjurations. These are not the only possible Conjurations for the entity, and the Gamemaster should not in any way feel limited by those enumerated in the entry for the entity.

    The Abjuration
    Once the entity has completed the instructions, the summoner performs an Abjuration, which releases the entity from the Adjuration, and in a sense 'dismisses' the entity. This is nearly as important as the Adjuration, as the consequences of not properly performing the Abjuration are nearly identical to the negative consequences of the Adjuration. As before, the Gamemaster rolls the Ka vs. Ka conflict.
    Success, Critical = The entity is dismissed.
    Failure, Fumble = The entity rebukes the summoner, and seeks to break the Magical Circle. To do so it matches its Ka vs. the Ka Strength of the Circle. If this roll succeeds, the summoner suffers the effects of the 'Failed Adjuration' entry for the entity involved.

    1st Circle of Summoning: Lesser Theurgy

    All Lesser Theurgy Operations take 2d6 hours to design, and cost one point of Cha'we to cast. The summoner must have a skill rating in this technique equal to the Threshold of the spell in order to attempt the operation.

    Some of these are magics involve entities which are naturally generated from the Magic Fields of the Earth. These are not conceptual entities; they exist independently of the Nephilim's consciousness, collective or otherwise. These include Elemental Creatures, Daemons, and Nephilim.

    A few of these magics involve entities that are at least partly conceptual, such as the Genius Loci and Greater Elementals, though even these are very much associated with either specific places in the world or the Elemental Fields of the world.


    Exorcise Daemon (Threshold 20) See Appendix 1 for the statistics on Daemons.
    This spell is used to evict a Daemon from its host. Match your relevant Ka-Element against the Ka-Element of the Daemon. If you overcome it, the Daemon leaves. If unsuccessful, you may not evict the Daemon from its host. If you fail, you may try again on a different day.

    Summon Daemon. (Threshold 40) See Appendix 1 for the statistics on Daemons.
    This spell allows the Nephilim to 'generate' a Daemon. The spell does not actually call the Daemon from some other place; rather an appropriate place is chosen that possess the correct characteristics for the natural generation of a Daemon. The spell then helps along this process. Unless the area in question is within a Nexus or Plexus, or some other form of Ka is available in the area, it is necessary that the Nephilim sacrifice a point of Dominant Ka (through the Blood Ritual) in order to insure the generation of the Daemon.

    Summon Creature of (Element). (Threshold 60)
    These spells are virtually identical to spells described in The Nephilim Gamemaster's Companion, with exception that the Elemental creature may be Conjured, that is, given a command, without the expenditure of a point of Dominant Ka.
    Also, this ritual can be used on a preexisting Elemental Creature. If this is the case, then the Operation must be performed in the vicinity of the Creature and the Evocation serves to gain the Creature's attention, while the Abjuration frees it from the ritual in such a way that it will afterwards ignore the Summoner.

    Ritual of the Vessel. (Threshold 70)
    This Operation forces a Nephilim in Stasis or Narcosis to manifest in an artificial vessel. This vessel can be a hollow bust, statue or by extension any artifact that can said to be hollow. Only Nephilim can be so constrained in this manner.
    The Operation is conducted in the same way as other Summoning rituals, except that no Magical Circle is necessary, as there are no negative consequences that arise from incurring the wrath of the Nephilim.
    The Nephilim may not cast magic, or communicate except at the behest of the summoner. Ka-Vision is required to interrogate or command the Nephilim inside the vessel. The Nephilim remains in the vessel until the Nephilim has fulfilled one command, or one day has passed.
    Such an experience is terrifying for Nephilim, and is not practiced much among them, except in the direst of situations.
    There are said to be rituals that force permanent enslavement to the vessel, but these are unknown. If such a ritual did exist, the Secret Societies would spare no expense to acquire it.
    This ritual, combined with Alchemical techniques, may have been the genesis of the development of the Homunculus.

    Summon Greater Elemental of (Element). (Threshold 80) See Appendix 1 for the statistics on Greater Elementals.
    This Operation summons partly conceptual entities, the Greater Elementals. These entities are composed of a concentration of one of the Elemental Fields. The existence of such an entity is unstable at best, because the lack of a grounding Personality Trait gives the entity little or no focus in the world. Thus, such entities are never natural products of the Elemental Fields, but rather Summoning-wrought manipulations of it.

    Summon the Genius Loci. (Threshold 90) See Appendix 1 for the statistics on types of Genius Loci.
    'Genius Loci' is Latin, and means roughly 'local spirit'. This is a partly conceptual entity that exists in places of import or significance, but is only called into being by the art of the Summoner. Unless the area in question is within a Nexus or Plexus, or some other form of Ka is available in the area, it is necessary that the Nephilim sacrifice a point of Dominant Ka (through the Blood Ritual) in order to insure the success of the Operation.

    Second Circle of Summoning: Invocation and Greater Theurgy

    The Second Circle of Summoning is concerned with two magical techniques. Invocation, or the calling by name of entities for supernatural aid, and Greater Theurgy, which is concerned with the Summoning of purely conceptual entities.


    Invocation is a direct appeal for supernatural power by the process of calling upon a name. In many ways, Invocation implies that you are assuming the authority and identity of the name you call upon.
    To Invoke, a Nephilim must simply say aloud the Name of some supernatural entity. This takes one Action. Each Name can be considered to have four characteristics: Element, Resistance, Effect and Purpose.
    Element refers to the Ka-Element that the name embodies.
    Resistance refers to the Strength that the Nephilim must overcome on the Resistance Table in order to receive the Effect bonus.
    Effect refers to the bonus to the Adjuration Ka-Roll that the Nephilim receives.
    Purpose refers to nature of the Name, and the uses to which it can be used.

    Briefly, when a Nephilim Invokes a Name, she matches her Ka-Element corresponding to the Ka-Element of the name against the Resistance number on the Resistance Table. If she succeeds, the Effect bonus is added to her next Ka-Roll (in Summoning, this is the Adjuration Ka-Roll). In the case of a failure the Effect number is subtracted from the Adjuration Roll. In Summoning, this bonus cannot exceed 25%. This system may also be used in Sorcery, at the Gamemaster's discretion.

    Sample Invocations

    "Lord", "Mighty One"

    My Personal God, My only God

    El Elyon
    God Most High (Authority, Leadership)

    El Shaddai
    God of the Mountain, High God (God as separate from the world)

    "I Am", God as the Unbegotten One

    Yahweh Sabaoth
    God, Lord of Hosts

    "God Is With Me"

    Greek, God in the Greek Sense, as Prime Mover

    Greek, The Holy Name referred to, not uttered

    The Holy Name referred to, not uttered

    "My Lord"

    Jesus Christ
    Greek, Yeshua, the Anointed One

    Pater, Filli, et Spiritu Sancti
    Latin, Father, Son and Holy Ghost

    Greek, Jesus as Messiah

    Greater Theurgy

    All Greater Theurgy Operations take 2d6 days to design, and cost two points of Cha'we to cast. The summoner must have a skill rating in this technique equal to the Threshold of the spell in order to attempt the operation.
    This art is concerned with the summoning of wholly conceptual entities. These entities should not be seen as actually existing on another plane of reality, rather, they are, in essence, partly created through the will and imagination of the summoner.
    These entities may only be summoned on Enthronements of the Ka-Elements that they are 'governed' by.

    Third Circle of Summoning: High Theurgy

    All High Theurgy Operations take 2d6 months to design, and cost three points of Cha'we to cast. The summoner must have a skill rating in this technique equal to the Threshold of the spell in order to attempt the operation.
    This Circle is much like the 2nd, in that the entities summoned are entirely conceptual. However, the entities summoned here are of enormous power, so much so that they can only be bargained with, never commanded. As such, Invocation is of little or no use. These entities may only be summoned on Grand Enthronements of the Ka-Elements that they are 'governed' by.



    From: fafnir327

    Date: 21 Jun 2010 06:06:54 -0000

    Subject: Summoning System Revisions


    Sorry for the delay, but here's what I'd worked up. I'm actually retrofitting this back to Nephilim - I originally worked all of this up for my Golden Dawn CoC game.

    As groundwork, each entity needs to be tied to one of the 10 sephiroth. Also, the system needs to have astrology worked out so that every sphere has its favorable day and months.

    Summoning rituals use the following procedure:

    Step 0: Learn or devise the spell (research the sigil of the entity).

    Step 1: Draw the Sigil of the entity.
    Takes 1d10 minutes, requires INTx5 roll. High skills in Art(draw) or Kabbalistic Lore give bonuses equal to the skill/10. Results:
    Fumble: spell will fail, but caster does not know. Proceed.
    Failure: Spell will fail, caster knows. Start over.
    Success: Spell can work. Proceed.
    Critical: Sigil is nearly perfect. +10 to technique roll in Evocation.

    Step 1A: Draw Magic Circle (optional)
    This uses the same rolls and procedures as in Liber Ka (costs 1 ch'awe). Using a magic circle allows the caster to use assistants (as per Ritual magic in Liber Ka - the can contribute ch'awe and offer up bonuses to the caster's Ka). If anything goes wrong, the entity summoned must overcome the ka of the caster to leave the circle.

    Step 2: The Evocation (Technique roll)
    The caster stares into the seal, intoning ritual phrases and channeling their will into the seal, creating a beacon that shines across the spheres. Takes 1 action per point of threshold of the entity. Make a technique roll:
    Fumble: Dire attentions. Possible astral attack.
    Failure: Contact is not made. The sigil is wasted.
    Success: Contact is made with the desired sphere. Proceed.
    Critical: Contact is made in half time, check technique for later increase.

    This roll is modified by ritual elements: colors, materials, that correspond to the entity's sephiroth grant bonuses. Ritual tools and the complexity of the ritual can also offer bonuses.

    Step 3: The Adjuration (Ka roll)
    Once the caster has contacted the entity, they must draw it to its sigil with an effort of will. Costs 2 ch'awe per circle of the spell. Make a Ka roll (for the apporpriate element), with Ka multiplied by the Circle of the spell (x3, x2, or x1).
    Fumble: Spell fails. Ch;awe spent. Gain 1D3 Khaiba. Caster cannot attempt this spell again until the next favored day for the element.
    Failure: Spell fails. Ch'awe not spent.
    Success: The entity comes.
    Critical: The entity comes, ch'awe cost halved. Check ka for later increase.

    The caster's Ka is modified by the daily astrological modifier, and assistants (if any). Entities that appear are only visible in Ka vision, though the uninitiated may feel a presence.

    Step 4: The Conjuration (opposed Ka roll)
    Once the entity has been called forth, the caster must bind it to their will. This is an opposed roll between the caster's dominant Ka and the entity's contract value. Costs 5 ch'awe.
    Fumble: The entity breaks the sigil. Caster suffers rupture. In addition, the entity may engage in astral combat witht he caster if it desires. Gain Khaibe equal to the entity's Contract divided by 5 (round up).
    Failure: The entity breaks the sigil and the caster suffers rupture.
    Success: The entity obeys the caster for 1 Service (see below).
    Critical: The entity obeys the caster for 1 service, and departs with no abjuration needed. Check ka for later increase.

    The caster's ka is modified by the astrological modifier, Invocations, and enchanted talismans devoted to opposing elements. Knowing the entity's True Name is worth a +10 ka bonus. Orichalca is also very useful.

    The Service: The entity, once conjured,can be made to do the following:

    Service. The spell description. Entities can be sent to targets not present, if there are ritual links to the target. The entity must make a Contract x3 roll to find a non-present target.

    Pact. The entity inscribes its sigil onto the caster's aura. Henceforth, the caster can summon the entity by simply making a Technique roll. Each future casting will require another Conjuration (though no abjuration is necessary).

    Spellcasting. The entity will cast sorcery spells of its element and circle, up to its threshold. No rolls needed - spells cast by entities always succeed. The entity will cast 1 spell for every 10% the caster beat the Conjuration roll.

    Inhabitation: The entity can be placed into a specially prepared idol or statue, or even an alchemical golem. Enchanting the vessel costs 1 Ka per circle of the entity, and requires a lengthy ritual. Once the vessel is inhabited, the entity will remain within it for a number of months equal to the caster's dominant Ka modifier. Each month, the entity can do one of the following:
    Teach sorcery spells (its element and circle, up to its threshold), Must make a Contract x3 roll to succeed.
    Tech Occult skills (grant 1 check), An entity cannot raise a caster's in an appropriate skill above its own Contract x3.
    Prophesy - the entity will answer a number of questions equal to the caster's Ka modifier. A successful Contractx3 roll yields accurate info, at the GMs discretion.

    Step 5: The Abjuration (Technique roll)
    Once the entity has performed its service, the summoner must ritually dismiss it so as not to offend the entity or give it any means of taking retribution on the caster. The abjuration takes 1 action per point of Contract, and costs 1 ch'awe.
    Fumble: the entity departs, but exacts some future revenge or initiates a plot complication.
    Failure: The entity departs, but still counts against the caster's summoned entity limit.
    Success: Entity departs.
    Critical: Entity departs, no ch'awe spent.

    Step 6: Grounding the Circle (optional)
    As per Liber Ka, the caster spends 1 minute ritually killing the magic circle if a magic circle was used.

    Astral Combat
    In this variant system, all spirits can engage in astral combat. Each round, the entity and target both make Ka x3 rolls (contract x3 for the entity). Whoever has the better successful roll (critical beats impale, impale beats success, higher number within a tied category wins) deals 1D3 ch'awe damage to their opponent. A fumble gives the enemy a +10 bonus to the next roll.

    That's about the size of it. Thoughts?



    From: Ian Borchardt

    Date: 21 Jun 2010 06:41:30 -0000

    Subject: Summoning System Revisions


    I'd definitely not consider the magical circle to be option, since it sets the extent of the ritual, even if it provides no additional protective effect. Otherwise the caster will be trying to shift the whole universe with their magic.

    I'd rate the ability to create an appropriate ward to be a separate ability. Probably six of them; one for each of the fields.

    I'd also add a meditation phase before hand. 2d10 hours is about right, methinks. And don't forget the ritual purification, either. A summoning shouldn't be a trivial affair.

    Also I note that there is no mechanism for Invocation [ie: having the entity intentionally possess the summoner (frex, Loa).]



    From: fafnir327

    Date: 21 Jun 2010 14:07:22 -0000

    Subject: Summoning System Revisions


    I'd ruled with the protective circle being oiptional to allow for "quick and dirty" castings for summoners in a bind or who want to live dangerously.

    Making the ward circle a separate skill/ability is an intriguing idea.

    As for meditation phases and ritual purity, I had figured they would come in as optional modifiers for various steps - taking the extra time to meditate would give the castere a bonus to ka for purposes of the Conjuration, that kind of thing. I'd either grant a Ka bonus if ritually pure, or (prolly better) slap a penalty on the caster if they aren't.

    When I first devised these I had ported over pretty much *all* of the spellcasting modifiers and options from GURPS Cabal, turning their skill roll mods into Ka bonuses/penalties. It's a lot to keep track of, but boy was it nice. I may post that next, since I was applying them to sorcery as well.

    I'm using the word "Invocation" to specifically mean bullying the spirit with the names of God and powerful beings. It'd be an arcane technique a lot like Correspondences in Major Arcana: names have a threshold, invoking requires a little ch'awe and a skill roll, and yields a Ka bonus.

    Now, as to letting the spirit ride the caster (or a present offering), that's a sweet idea. It also occurs to me that possession might be a cool tactic for spirits to use of the conjuration fails. Another potential downside to using assistants - they're likely much easier targets than the caster...



    From: exubae

    22 Jun 2010 11:34:38 -0000

    Subject: Summoning System Revisions


    A quick overview of what I've been messing arround on the wiki and at in game, this was my orginal concept for the process of summoning:

    1. The Ritual Space
    1. Define Ritual Space
    2. Activate Ritual Space
    2. Summon Entity
    1. Bind, Bargain with Entity: Creating Pact
    3. Dismiss Entity
    4. Close the Ritual Space
    1. Cleanse the Rituals space
    2. Unmake the Ritual space

    Most of this is mechanically invisible to the user (other than the time taken).
    All is subsumed by the Summoning circle skill.
    With the roll negatively modified if the entities particualr tastes are not catered for in the decoration of the ritual space.
    (Fumbles etc tend to imply the ritual space has not been unmade/cleansed, and un pleasantness can occur in the area from dragon effects spont. appearing).

    You can then request an immediate service/or arrange a pact.
    Services from the entity are arranged through either binding or bargaining. (Binding leaves the entity hostile).

    Services include:
    Loans of Artifacts
    Skills training and Knowledge.
    Entities particular power.

    The pact is the key point:
    You pre-arrange a number of services from the entity, which can be called back with invoked through the pact (once again using summoning circle skill) to provide one of its services.

    Fumble on a Bind/Bargain results in rupture.

    Summoning also includes:
    Gate rituals, they form bridges to an entity and its realm, allowing the summoner to interact with the realm and the occupants...It works well in play - Adonai's realm became a gate ritual.

    Travel, any one initated into 1st circle can wander arround the material world and Assiah in a solar Ka astral form.
    2nd Circle get to all of Yetzirah
    3rd Circle and so on
    100% in 3rd Circle get free range of the tree.
    In all case the Sim is left behind with only a trace of Solar Ka.

    What I'm planning to do is altering the entity power levels for my next campaign I run... following the suggestions on the group.
    Fro the Gate summons its no to bad as the Character is effectively travelling - ie all any one sees is the an unconcious Sim.

    I've split most of the entities in to 3 major categories/perspectives:
    Solomonic - demonic/untrustworthy
    Angelic - Angelic hosts
    Enochian - Ministers and dwellers of the Aethyrs

    There are other summoning perspectives, based arround arcana and metamorphosis.
    Khabic - Devil
    Sidhe - Faerim
    Godform - Heirophant (Neph builds up an idealised image of himself in Solar Ka through the belief of his followers, he may summon it or possess it for a limited period of time)
    Constructs -Chariot.



    From: fafnir327

    Date: 22 Jun 2010 18:57:28 -0000

    Subject: Summoning System Revisions


    Lots of neat ideas here - the bargain vs. bind option in particular I find very compelling. Is there any way to objectively set up how to drive that bargain, I wonder?

    The additional stuff (spells for sphere travel, etc) is awesome, and the divisions of entities by paradigm is also very cool.

    I will confess i don't know much about Enochian magick at all, and am intrigued at the idea that these different types of entities might be good for different things.



    From: exubae

    Date: 22 Jun 2010 20:47:00 -0000

    Subject: Summoning System Revisions


    Objectively, not really other than drawing upon the entity descriptions and its possible motivations.

    A good portion of the entites with the poetic sounding titles are of enochian origin:
    The panoplied Horsemen from the River of Dreams
    for example is a minister drawn from the 13th Aeythr (LAZDIXI)
    and is ruled over by the Archangle Malchidael.

    The Whispering Ones, Spirits of the Basalt Forest
    Are ministers of the 7th Aethyr (SAMPHA)
    and is ruled over by the Archangel Advachiel

    There are thirty Aethyrs and within them four (five) elemental watch towers. All of which are ripe for the plundering into game terms :)


    While I think some suggestions may be needlessly complex, the overall idea is that summoning invocations would be performed as rituals to call and bind an entity into service, or compel an entity that already exists in proximity (e.g. exorcising demons, calming an elemental creature, binding a nephilim/homunculus into oaths of servitude). In general summoning would be more powerful than sorcery, although the risks would likewise be higher. 


    What do you think?

  19. 16 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

    To be clear, you're referring to Shannon Patrick, right?  Not Shannon Appelcline.

    Yes, Shannon Patrick from the nephilim mailing list.


    16 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

    Ugh, multiple rolls to achieve a single goal.  This sort of thing has been the bane of roleplaying for ages.  As a "mini-game," it only works if interspersed among a narrative.  HeroQuest, which is explicitly narrative, has its extended contests and even those were re-jiggered and simplified from the original to the 2nd edition.  Taking a page, generally, from HQ, if the drama lies within the process of racking up those situational bonuses individually, go for an extended contest (or something very much like it); if the drama lies only in the eventual result, go with a simple one-roll contest and a broad description.

    I have been thinking about possible alternatives.

    Removing the ka roll, and by extension the sacrifice mechanic, has a ripple effect on how casting works because mortal sorcerers rely on the sacrifice mechanic to cast spells. That may not be a bad thing, since the ka roll/sacrifice felt like a needless tax and the elixir holding multiple magic point pools was completely different from nephilim casting anyway. 

    In the Ex Oculus rules, at least the 2010 draft I have, somebody apparently noticed this disparity since in those rules the nephilim track their five ka separately rather than deriving them with math from dominant ka.

    Since we are talking about selenim too: they spend ka from their ka pool (distinct from their ka core) by default without a sacrifice ritual in a manner similar to the spending of ch'awe. Incidentally, ch'awe was only added in the English adaptation.

    The saturnian spells in Secret Societies are perhaps the most complex: they require spending ch'awe, a skill roll, a ka roll, a sacrifice of elixir, and a sacrifice of awakened orichalka. The awakened orichalka is sacrificed by spilling the elixir's blood on the metal lump.

    Both the French and English versions were more complicated than they needed to be and seemed to enjoy inventing new subsystems in every book. I would prefer a universal guideline over these.

    I think a simpler universal system would be if, I don't know, characters had a magic point pool for each type of ka they had and spent points from that to cast spells instead of ch'awe. If they didn't have the relevant point pool, then they couldn't cast the spell unless they drew it from someone or something else like a sacrificial victim, an elixir, or lump of awakened orichalka. The sacrifice ritual would cost more but provide additional benefit, similar to the various overexertion or action point rules in many RPGs. But that's just one idea.

    EDIT: Perhaps the sacrifice ritual allows a nephilim to draw from the ka of another nephilim? For example, elemental affinity of a spell relies on who provides the ka; two nephilim could synergise their abilities by having one provide the occult training and another provide the elemental affinity. The secret societies perverted this into a form of involuntary human sacrifice.


    16 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

    Here, you're seeing the exposed surface of the less-than-unified approach to adapting Nephilim to the English language.  Under early editorship (c.1994-95-ish), there was only the translation notes from the core rules, so you have some from-scratch and hog-wild ideas seeing print, like Saturnian magic, Black Fire-Ka, and Templars with 30-round clips of Orichalka bullets as standard issue.  Later developments (under different editors, c.96-98-ish) had the benefit of reference to more translation and popular opinion, and still free reign to deviate as wished or needed.  It's fair to say that any future reboot would benefit greatly from its own, unified, and unique approach to re-envisioning the Nephilim cosmology and interpretation of the occult sciences.

    Definitely. I saw plenty of useful ideas in Ex Oculus (e.g. concealing the backstory about saurians, kaim, atlantis, lilith, etc rather than overwhelming players with it at the start) and various homebrew (e.g. distinguish ka types by evolving/elemental/residual). At the same time, I would prefer to avoid turning it into a clone of Mage: The Awakening or something.


    16 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

    Regarding my approach to the Selenim magics, tenebrae was, in fact, going to track closely to Ka-vision (though Ka-vision was certainly up for revamping) and Black Summoning was going to generally cleave to the the existing summoning rules, though drawing on a different stable of entities.  Necromancy pretty much needed to be its own, new thing, and the Imago was another matter entirely.  Why no Black Moon Alchemy or Black Moon Sorcery?  Limited imagination, I'm afraid -- I wasn't looking past the translation, and maybe I should've.  The Selenim had so much else going for them, and besides, they could always still cast traditional multi-Ka magics using elixirs.

    With the revisions to alchemy and sorcery from Liber Ka and unpublished Slaying the Dragon (ultimately revised and reprinted in Enlightened Magic), I thought that necromancy and so forth could be represented as black moon spells under those occult skills in the same way as saturnian spells. Since only selenim have black moon, only they could use these spells (but conversely they couldn't use other elements). They didn't necessarily need an entirely new set of skills that essentially do the same thing as the nephilim skills except only for black moon spells. For example, The King in Yellow makes sense as an enchanted work of Black Moon White Stone Alchemy.

    I didn't mean it in the sense of them casting other elemental magic, just consolidating the eight elements into a unified system. Elixirs are horrifying because their creation generally involves mass murder, and it doesn't make sense that the selenim would gleefully slaughter nephilim to create them. 


    16 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

    Yeah, we weren't sure where we were going to go with that one.  The concept was very close the the "ghouls" of Vampire: the Masquerade, and no one was eager to re-tread that ground.  Early (and essentially uninformed) opinion was largely dismissive of the Selenim as a manqué of WoD vampires already.  I really loved the concept of them as Nephilim who sacrificed their spiritual nature to save the rest of their kind, and was eager to take it in that direction.  Today, I'd be inclined to take it in yet another direction still.

    Indeed? What direction would that be?

    What I personally liked about the selenim lore was its heavy inspiration from Necroscope. The selenim were uniquely able to speak with the dead and build a rapport with them, largely distinct from their history with the nephilim and secret societies.

    The "ghouls" are essentially just a retread of Dracula's depiction of Renfield as Dracula's servant and vampirism as a gradual infection. GURPS Blood Types has an entry on half-vampires that encompasses several beings in folklore and fiction.

    What little I could piece together of the selenim from the English books and mailing list archives was definitely uninformed. They were mentioned as inventing sarcophagi as a precursor to stasis object (in the French this never happened, stasis was invented by the secret societies to imprison nephilim), spending periods of time in hibernation (in the French, this wasn't feasible due to entropy; they weren't VtM vampires), and at least their cultists in the Cultes des Goules believed they need human sacrifices and practiced cannibalism (in the French, they were emotional vampires). And the 2nd and 3rd editions introduced a variety of new things like nephilim/selenim hybrids, new selenim being spontaneously born from the spirits of dreamers, and the arkaim who had black moon-ka but didn't suffer from entropy.

  20. Sorry I haven't responded, I've been busy lately. Yes, Enlightened Magic is the latest version of the sorcery and alchemy mechanics. It does have key divergences from Nephilim though, like characters not tracking multiple POW characteristics and not rolling twice to cast spells. There's no skills for summoning, either, since that never received a revision. (The most summoning got was additional spells for manipulating elemental creatures that spontaneously arose from plexus and nexus; ironically, this is very similar in concept to the selenim's conjuration skill from the French third edition.)

    The "ex oculus" drafts I got from Shannon almost a decade ago still tracks multiple KA characteristics and requires rolling twice to cast spells (which also determine the mechanics for elixirs). The EM rules do make me wonder whether Nephilim could stand to be simplified. Are there simpler ways to represent the same thing? We also need to take into account the mechanics from other supplements, like the saturnian spells and solar-ka techniques in Secret Societies, the planned Selenim rules, and the Ar-KaIm from the French third edition.

    Based on Ian's old preview notes from his long dead prodigy pages site (which I helpfully archived), the tenebrae, necromancy, and black summoning would be introduced as their own skills. However, this is incongruous with the saturnian spells in Secret Societies using the standard nephilim occult techniques of sorcery, summoning, and alchemy. Why can't the black moon spells rely on the nephilim's occult techniques as saturnian spells do? How would these skills manifest differently for the selenim?

    The French Selenim and Black Book rules also included mechanics for things like orichalcum addiction and nephilim or muggles being "infected" with black moon-ka, which are very loosely similar in concept to the cultivation of saturnian-ka in Secret Societies. Does black moon infection allow one to cast black moon spells without being selenim? Could selenim or the undead (living or dead humans infected with black moon-ka) cultivate saturnian-ka within themselves? What exactly is the difference between the selenim and the undead?

    So many questions that have never been answered.

  21. I remember now. A long time ago Shannon sent me a copy of a planned Nephilim revision dated 2010. It explains concepts like fugue, parasite and so forth. Compared to the standard Nephilim lore, it is much more mysterious and unexplained. The backstory prior to the development of human civilization (e.g. saurians, kaim, atlantis) are not given, so PCs do not know where nephilim come from and generally behave as awakened reincarnating human beings.

    It has a number of innovations, such as scoring past lives by how well they are remembered and allowing nephilim to remember additional past lives by spending experience points. The sanity system is expanded, with each ka-element linked to particular stresses.

    I don't have permission to share it since it was put together by the freelancers IIRC, so you may need to ask Shannon about whether it can be shared.

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  22. 16 hours ago, Simlasa said:

    I never saw the basic concept as a problem at all.
    Lots of people love playing vampires... which are even more monstrous (unless they sparkle).
    Geist, one of the NWoD games, presents a more open/aware relationship between the host and its partner, and it works fine in that game. But, for me, I saw the Nephilim's nature of 'possessing' different bodies through history as a weight to be carried... reacted to. Trying to make it a happy circumstance for all involved kind of waters down the setting, IMO.

    I don't mean that it becomes a happy circumstance; it should definitely be a heavy burden and it shouldn't be some kind of conscious relationship between the simulacrum and elemental. What I mean is that critics call the nephilim body-stealing parasites, a la the horror trope. This was a popular topic of discussion on the mailing list back in the day.

    The way I heard it explained, the difference is that vampires generally don't pretend they aren't monsters. The nephilim are depicted as an unjustly persecuted minority by comparison, even though they steal the bodies of unsuspecting innocent people and wreck their lives.

    Hence the suggestion that this be rewritten to be less of a conventional possession and more of a sympathy between the simulacrum and nephilim.

    13 hours ago, Questbird said:

    Buddhism has the concept of enlightened beings who have found their way out of the suffering of the world but who choose to stay out of compassion to help others find the way. In Doris Lessing's Shikasta the world is monitored by beneficent aliens ('Canopus') who from time to time choose to be born into human bodies in order to influence the planet. However when they do so they are necessarily exposed to the corrupting influences of the galactic baddies ('Shammat') so it doesn't always end well. Each of these concepts could work with Nephilim. In each case there is less conflict with the simulacrum or body although it may take time for the advanced psyche to take full control.

    Okay. That does not fit with the nephilim cosmology as presented. I am generally opposed to completely rewriting the setting, and the English adaptation has already taken major liberties from the original French.

    6 hours ago, Mugen said:

    It could be possible to give a "Mnemos" pool (named after the effect that allows them to re-live past lives) to each Nephilim, which would allow them to remember lost skills during the game.

    Michael Bishop wrote a simple house rule to store 50% of your occult points for spending during play, but it wasn't as extreme as recalling whole past lives during play. Speaking of character creation, I archived house rules involving advanced past lives and easy character creation.

    That reminds me. I talked with Shannon a few years ago about custom rules she thought of, which included the additional insanity state "Fugue"/"Sekhat" in which the nephilim was overwhelmed by the personality of a past life and forgot their other memories. I can't remember the details beyond that.

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  23. One idea I had for making Nephilim easier to grok would be to allow characters to recall past lives during play rather than starting with convoluted character creation, although this may not be feasible under the BRP rules.

    Aside from being newbie unfriendly, another possible problem with the game's premise is that Nephilim are presented as parasites possessing human bodies. While sufficient for antagonists in a horror or conspiracy game, it isn't really appropriate for protagonists. One way I think that this could be addressed, in tandem with recalling past lives during play, is that the relationship between the human and nephilim personalities be rewritten to make them less seemingly villainous.

    Rather than parasites, it might be better to characterize them as symbiotic. To some degree this concept of merger between elemental and simulacrum is already present in the standard rules, since nephilim rely on their simulacrum's characteristics plus the bonus from their ka's meta-characteristics. I would prefer not to characterize them as awakened humans because that's already what every other modern magic game does, because that doesn't fit with the rest of the cosmology and magic system, and because that makes certain character types like selenim and ar-kaim untenable.

    For example, perhaps the shouit mechanic could be rewritten. Instead of the nephilim suffering sudden amnesia after a critical on a skill roll, they accrue shouit points for failing to maintain their muggle relationships to represent the muggle side's emotional turmoil. When shouit does take over, the muggle personality doesn't forget everything but merely doesn't remember the occult life and their psyche devises explanations to explain it away; although specifics may vary by character.

    Conversely, the khaiba mechanic could be rewritten in a similar fashion. Rather than simply accruing with critical rolls until it maxes and forces a state of khaiba, points could accumulate on a meter in opposition to shouit points. Khaiba represents the base nature of the nephilim without the human side to anchor them, so nephilim are truly gestalt beings rather than elemental spirits possessing human bodies.

    So what effect does this have on the culture of the nephilim? It means that they would prefer simulacra who are sympathetic to them, because otherwise the fusion simply would not work well if at all. You could go so far as to say that nephilim simply cannot merge with a simulacrum that doesn't meet a minimal threshold of psychological compatibility, or that if they do it causes extreme personality changes in the nephilim. This would be very difficult to roleplay, so switching simulacra shouldn't be a frequent thing. (E.g. look at Dax from Star Trek for an example.)

    Most of the Major Arcana work fine with this adjustment, save for those like Devil, Hanged Man, Death, and Moon, plus the ar-kaim. Those require a bit more thought.

    Devil believe enlightenment is found through khaiba and reject the muggle world entirely. Naturally, they might form genuine satanic cults in order to find simulacra with compatible personality types who won't accrue too much shouit points. In any case, Devil are probably not appropriate as PCs given their obviously antisocial culture. That they are an arcanum at all is interesting by itself.

    Hanged Man aren't as extreme under the symbiotic POV. They are probably the most similar to the awakened human mages in other RPGs, since they lack the ready access to past life memories and ancient perspective of other nephilim. However, this in itself gives them a unique POV since they think of themselves first as their current muggle lives and not as reincarnating wizards with ancient grudges.

    Moon encompasses nephilim with animal rather than human simulacra. If they are merges of elemental and simulacrum, then this raises the question of where their intelligence comes from. Since nephilim rely on the characteristics of their simulacrum plus the bonus from meta-characteristics, this means that the Moon Arcanum is at an intellectual disadvantage because their simulacra are animals. On the other hand, it does give them more reason to interact with muggles rather than living in total isolation like the Hermit Arcanum. After all, who do you think inspired the myths of the witch's familiar?

    Death is synonymous with selenim. In the French version, later editions apparently added that selenim could be born of the black moon field or "the spirits of dreamers" without having once been nephilim. I couldn't find a detailed source to confirm the nature of this, but I suppose it would be fine to run with the idea since the plans for the Chaosium adaptation involved major changes to the selenim lore like adding sarcophagi as a stasis precursor/equivalent. Black moon magic allows the selenim to manipulate solar-ka in ways unknown to the nephilim, such that they no longer have to worry about shouit and may switch simulacrum at will; I don't know how we would want to adapt any of this.

    Ar-kaim were never adapted into English. They were basically modern day superheroes with "talents" that worked like superpowers rather than the occult sciences. Ar-kaim are created when a muggle finds themselves at the right astrological conjunction and gets empowered with a "heart" of elemental ka. The heart may contain all eight of the ka elements, including black moon-ka and orichalcum/saturnian-ka. They haven't been around long enough to accumulate past lives, but the third edition included very brief rules for reincarnation. Not sure how they would be represented in BRP.

    Ideally our rules should account for selenim and ar-kaim rather than starting with nephilim and adding them later. For example, saturnian spells from Secret Societies use the existing occult sciences rather than inventing new ones; black moon spells could work the same. Not sure how to account for ar-kaim superpowers other than the "elemental effects" optional rule from Liber Ka p. 88; their shtick is that their innate abilities work like superpowers rather than spell-casting, which might not work well with the modern occult theme unless we draw inspiration from psychic phenomena.

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