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Zulfikar Zaban

What happened to Nephilim?

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I was late to the game on this one and the few remarks I can find about it are like, "and then, you all know what happened..." I suspect it was something like Chaosium had high hopes set on it and they released it and it was crickets, because the only person who I ever meet who played it was my cousin when he was going to MIT. Other than that, it's crickets. I'm hoping to play in the future, maybe change some things, or add elements of Mythras/Mythic into it. I really like the idea of characters playing in different times and going through a transformation. Just curious where I can find more information/old articles? Thoughts, reflections appreciated. Thank you.

Edited by Zulfikar Zaban

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I only own the core book, and while this might seem silly...was there more books produced for it (in English)?  I have had the most luck in tying in the game as an "alternate" view of the world for my CoC games.  As a stand alone game, I don't know anyone who played it...and I am the only person I know who even owns the book.

-STS

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Read it at the time. Enjoyed some brilliant bits of background and an elegant incarnation of BRP, clever monsters and interesting magic. The metamorphosis aspect was cool. Yet, I remained cold to the basic premise of the game. It was hard to care for transdimentional parasites and their conflicts with other abstruse cabals. The idea that Nephilim possess human hosts rather than simply reincarnating is off-putting. Then stakes in the basic conflict were somewhat unclear.

Never looked at or played the French original. It may well be that something was lost in translation.

But if I ever play Chaosium's Nephilim I will heavily tweak the background.

Edited by smiorgan

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14 minutes ago, sladethesniper said:

I only own the core book, and while this might seem silly...was there more books produced for it (in English)?  I have had the most luck in tying in the game as an "alternate" view of the world for my CoC games.  As a stand alone game, I don't know anyone who played it...and I am the only person I know who even owns the book.

-STS

Quite a few supplements and a short campaign. I own almost everything. I bought the whole bundle when it was heavily discounted at Chaosium's website in the early Noughties. 

Edited by smiorgan

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1 hour ago, Zulfikar Zaban said:

Unfortunately no. I know that it's still popular there. Wish I could get a translated version. Maybe I need to try to learn.

It's not that it is popular here, but there has been 3 new release since the first that has been translated to english by Chaosium. The last publisher is the licensee for RQG in french (Edge).

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41 minutes ago, smiorgan said:

Never looked at or played the French original. It may well be that something was lost in translation.

I did. Nothing was lost.

41 minutes ago, smiorgan said:

Read it at the time. Enjoyed some brilliant bits of background and an elegant incarnation of BRP, clever monsters and interesting magic. The metamorphosis aspect was cool. Yet, I remained cold to the basic premise of the game. It was hard to care for transdimentional parasites and their conflicts with other abstruse cabals. The idea that Nephilim possess human hosts rather than simply reincarnating is off-putting. Then stakes in the basic conflict were somewhat unclear.

Completely agree.

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1 hour ago, Kloster said:

I did. Nothing was lost.

Completely agree.

I think this is the main and most common complaint I have read about the game, and I agree. I think I would want to change it a little bit, make it more like a symbiotic relationship with the human and the Nephilim that is incarnating it or something. Like the human at the different incarnation periods is having a sort of Awakening to their new powers, not just a complete body take over like flesh puppets. 

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11 hours ago, Zulfikar Zaban said:

I suspect [the fate of Nephilim] was something like Chaosium had high hopes set on it and they released it and it was crickets...

It was mostly a matter of bad timing.  The industry was in flux, the company was in flux, there were several very popular genre alternatives on the market already.  I think it was also a time when people were reading RPGs more than they were playing them, and products were being written to that market.  And then there was the CCG implosion of the late '90s that put the last few nails in the coffin for several projects.  There was good stuff being written (and re-written) for the game, but that was always stuck at a flashing yellow light, very little green.  That said, what I think was really at issue was this...

5 hours ago, smiorgan said:

It was hard to care for transdimentional parasites and their conflicts with other abstruse cabals. [...snip...] Then stakes in the basic conflict were somewhat unclear.

There were no fewer than three, maybe four, good concepts rolled into those pages, and they sort of competed for attention, among potential players, among the writers.  It made sense to the French market, but was competing (often with itself!) for attention on other shores.

But then there was this...

5 hours ago, smiorgan said:

The idea that Nephilim possess human hosts rather than simply reincarnating is off-putting.

See, I never got this, as the French market clearly didn't squick at the concept, and the US market didn't seem to have a problem with homicidal, blood-sucking, bonded hostages.  Ignore one brief paragraph at the end of page 83 and you're golden, with all the different paradigms the text recommends you avoid.  But it wasn't written that way.

5 hours ago, smiorgan said:

But if I ever play Chaosium's Nephilim I will heavily tweak the background.

We'll see what we can do about that.

!i!

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On 9/1/2019 at 11:28 PM, Zulfikar Zaban said:

 Like the human at the different incarnation periods is having a sort of Awakening to their new powers, not just a complete body take over like flesh puppets. 

This. This is how I wanted to play it when I made (aborted) plans for a campaign...

The other possible option I considered is a campaign where the Nephilim are the bad guys and a few rogue Nephilim decide to help humanity to get rid of them for good. Characters play the humans that one day discover that they are possessed - as many people are - bur the Nephilim that were possessing them are now letting them free and hinting at how to liberate other humans... they go around pretending to be Nephilim and, in fact, their former Nephilim have given them their powers...but their tired Nephilim are rapidly devolving... A bitter and bloody war ensues, full of moral dilemmas and "who is the real monster" questions...

 

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Oh well, Nephilim, the occult heartbreaker. I still own every book published back in the day (the sigil formed by the spines glows in the night of a supermoon, I swear!), yet I never got around doing anything with it. But what a source of inspiration it has been for me, and still is.

You‘d think that with today’s (renewed) interest in all things mystical and supernatural, a game like Nephilim would fall on fertile ground. Look at TV shows like, well, Supernatural (15 seasons!), Grimm, American Gods & Good Omens (excellent Gaiman weirdness, both of them), Warehouse 13, Travellers, and even Lucifer: hidden worlds galore! Popular shows like Westworld and Altered Carbon, while clearly being SciFi, ponder questions like „what is consciousness anyway, and can it be transferred?“

Alas, when I asked Jeff two years ago at Eternal Con about their plans for Nephilim, it was clear the game was on the back burner, if anything. Which, of course, is their prerogative, having two hot irons in the fire already with RQG and CoC.

Concerning Nephilim incarnation and awakening in player characters, I‘d handle it less like a body snatching thingy, but more like an epiphany: while you clearly and presently remember living your life as John Doe so far, suddenly there‘s more; you can remember living as one Jane Doe in the 70‘s; and before her, another face in the mirror. Then there’s a whole chain of faces, fading back in time; all of them themselves, yet behind all of them, the true name of the ageless entity that is you. And you’re asking yourself the age-old question (again): „The breath of the flute player, does it belong to the flute?“

😉

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25 minutes ago, foolcat said:

Oh well, Nephilim, the occult heartbreaker. I still own every book published back in the day (the sigil formed by the spines glows in the night of a supermoon, I swear!), yet I never got around doing anything with it. But what a source of inspiration it has been for me, and still is.

You‘d think that with today’s (renewed) interest in all things mystical and supernatural, a game like Nephilim would fall on fertile ground. Look at TV shows like, well, Supernatural (15 seasons!), Grimm, American Gods & Good Omens (excellent Gaiman weirdness, both of them), Warehouse 13, Travellers, and even Lucifer: hidden worlds galore! Popular shows like Westworld and Altered Carbon, while clearly being SciFi, ponder questions like „what is consciousness anyway, and can it be transferred?“

Alas, when I asked Jeff two years ago at Eternal Con about their plans for Nephilim, it was clear the game was on the back burner, if anything. Which, of course, is their prerogative, having two hot irons in the fire already with RQG and CoC.

Concerning Nephilim incarnation and awakening in player characters, I‘d handle it less like a body snatching thingy, but more like an epiphany: while you clearly and presently remember living your life as John Doe so far, suddenly there‘s more; you can remember living as one Jane Doe in the 70‘s; and before her, another face in the mirror. Then there’s a whole chain of faces, fading back in time; all of them themselves, yet behind all of them, the true name of the ageless entity that is you. And you’re asking yourself the age-old question (again): „The breath of the flute player, does it belong to the flute?“

😉

 Nephilim seems very similar to the MMORPG The Secret World/Secret World Legends. The themes are very close, and Nephilim most likely influenced the game's designers and writers.

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19 hours ago, foolcat said:

Popular shows like Westworld and Altered Carbon, while clearly being SciFi, ponder questions like „what is consciousness anyway, and can it be transferred?“

[...snip...]

...you’re asking yourself the age-old question (again): „The breath of the flute player, does it belong to the flute?“

"History is an Illusion, and Science is a Lie."  Well, so is magic.

Nephilim = Mystical transhumanism.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
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10 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

"History is an Illusion, and Science is a Lie."  Well, so is magic.

Nephilim = Mystical transhumanism.

!i!

i want an angelic replacement for my nervous system, nice

Shadowrun, only with a less terrible gaming system

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20 hours ago, foolcat said:

Concerning Nephilim incarnation and awakening in player characters, I‘d handle it less like a body snatching thingy, but more like an epiphany: while you clearly and presently remember living your life as John Doe so far, suddenly there‘s more; you can remember living as one Jane Doe in the 70‘s; and before her, another face in the mirror. Then there’s a whole chain of faces, fading back in time; all of them themselves, yet behind all of them, the true name of the ageless entity that is you.

This description brings to mind the (sadly) single season show Intruders (2014)... which isn't so much like Nephilim, but does involve questions of souls and personas and the fallout on people around them.

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I played (GMed) Nephilim for a few years. 

I agree that the concept of playing an invasive being taking over a human body (and life) can be repelling for the players. 
My players always wanted to follow their goals, but also took account of the previous life of their host/Simulacrums. 
They showed up on the wedding aniversary of their parents, tried to be in good relations with the colleagues of their Simulacrum (they were university students, so with their fellow students and professors), etc. They also identified themselves with the former life of their Simulacrum as strong as with their own pastlives. 
 

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On 9/3/2019 at 2:54 PM, smiorgan said:

This. This is how I wanted to play it when I made (aborted) plans for a campaign...

The other possible option I considered is a campaign where the Nephilim are the bad guys and a few rogue Nephilim decide to help humanity to get rid of them for good. Characters play the humans that one day discover that they are possessed - as many people are - bur the Nephilim that were possessing them are now letting them free and hinting at how to liberate other humans... they go around pretending to be Nephilim and, in fact, their former Nephilim have given them their powers...but their tired Nephilim are rapidly devolving... A bitter and bloody war ensues, full of moral dilemmas and "who is the real monster" questions...

 

The whole awaking thing leading to unseen wars feels like it was stolen by Mage: the Awakening.  The OWOD Mage was great but the NWOD version feels like a Nephilium copy.

On 9/3/2019 at 5:36 PM, foolcat said:

Oh well, Nephilim, the occult heartbreaker. I still own every book published back in the day (the sigil formed by the spines glows in the night of a supermoon, I swear!), yet I never got around doing anything with it. But what a source of inspiration it has been for me, and still is.

You‘d think that with today’s (renewed) interest in all things mystical and supernatural, a game like Nephilim would fall on fertile ground. Look at TV shows like, well, Supernatural (15 seasons!), Grimm, American Gods & Good Omens (excellent Gaiman weirdness, both of them), Warehouse 13, Travellers, and even Lucifer: hidden worlds galore! Popular shows like Westworld and Altered Carbon, while clearly being SciFi, ponder questions like „what is consciousness anyway, and can it be transferred?“

Alas, when I asked Jeff two years ago at Eternal Con about their plans for Nephilim, it was clear the game was on the back burner, if anything. Which, of course, is their prerogative, having two hot irons in the fire already with RQG and CoC.

Concerning Nephilim incarnation and awakening in player characters, I‘d handle it less like a body snatching thingy, but more like an epiphany: while you clearly and presently remember living your life as John Doe so far, suddenly there‘s more; you can remember living as one Jane Doe in the 70‘s; and before her, another face in the mirror. Then there’s a whole chain of faces, fading back in time; all of them themselves, yet behind all of them, the true name of the ageless entity that is you. And you’re asking yourself the age-old question (again): „The breath of the flute player, does it belong to the flute?“

😉

Well, another way to play it would be similar to the tager idea in CthulhuTech.  Instead of being taken over with no say in the matter, you could run it like the Nephilium has to be asked to be join with the human.  That would be a good way to start the game off...a human is in a near death state and instead of death, the Nephilium could offer life at a cost.  Alternate ways would be having to do a ritual to make a bargain, or get kidnapped and sacrificed by a cult and your character has no choice but to be Nephilium skin puppet...

That could give you a choice of campaign style.

2 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

I played (GMed) Nephilim for a few years. 

I agree that the concept of playing an invasive being taking over a human body (and life) can be repelling for the players. 
My players always wanted to follow their goals, but also took account of the previous life of their host/Simulacrums. 
They showed up on the wedding aniversary of their parents, tried to be in good relations with the colleagues of their Simulacrum (they were university students, so with their fellow students and professors), etc. They also identified themselves with the former life of their Simulacrum as strong as with their own pastlives. 
 

This is really cool.  Were they 100% Nephilium with memories, or did they play it like a symbiosis sort of thing.

-STS

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>This is really cool.  Were they 100% Nephilium with memories, or did they play it like a symbiosis sort of thing.

They were 100% Nephilim with all their memories of their past lives (except one) intact, but they tried to figure out as much of the life of they new host as possible, and continued to live that life, but ADDITIONALLY following their Nephilim agenda and goals. 
It was a lot like being really Batman, but living it out only in secret while continuing to live Bruce Waynes life. 

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9 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

It was a lot like being really Batman, but living it out only in secret while continuing to live Bruce Waynes life. 

So which one is the secret identity?  Batman or Bruce Wayne?

Since we're talking comics (imagine that!), for any aspiring Nephilim player or GM, I can't recommend enough the entire body of work by Alan Moore.  From Swamp Thing through Miracleman through Watchmen (and it's practical sequel by Kieron Gillen, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt) through League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (and related titles) through Promethea through Providence, and beyond.  Moore has always asked these vital questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What am I?
  • How have I changed?
    • Or have I always been this way, but thought I was something different?
  • What's real?
  • What's really real?
  • What will I do to change the world?
    • Will anyone appreciate what I've done for them?
    • And does that really matter in the end?

!i!

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As I said in another post, there has been 5 french Nephilim editions. I even made a short description of 5th edition system.

IMHO, Nephilim's french edition's masterpiece is the first Selenim book for frist edition.

It takes the concept of the Vampire and twists it with great talent.

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2 hours ago, Mugen said:

As I said in another post, there has been 5 french Nephilim editions. I even made a short description of 5th edition system.

IMHO, Nephilim's french edition's masterpiece is the first Selenim book for frist edition.

It takes the concept of the Vampire and twists it with great talent.

 

Yes, I have the spanish translation of that book and it is really nice... a mix of Dark City and traditional vampires, nothing like the cheesy (IMHO) clans of WoD.

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