(This is for this year’s Game Chef competition.)
Power 19+1 for Gnosis
Bonus Question: What art are you using?
Ben Lehman’s “One False Move” artwork, plus Elizabeth Shoemaker’s Hands.
What is your game about?
Gnosis is about mystic knowledge and transcendence. One is living in a dark world that is a lie; only by gaining more knowledge about the truths of the world can ascend; but ascension carries its own price.
What is humanity? What do you hold dear? Is divinity worth the price?
What do the characters do?
Characters go through three phases of play: Sorcerer, where they are still fundamentally human, and tied to the human world, and potentially fragile and vulnerable. In this phase of play, characters will have conflicts that have very human concerns, dealing with malevolent supernatural elements that threaten themselves and things they cherish.
After transcending, the character becomes a Sephirot, a pseudo-divinity. Now, the character has shedded most of their humanity, and is open to new possibilities of power and conflict. The truth of the world has been made bare to the character, and they have the power to fundamentally alter it for the better- but other, ancient and sinister Sephiroth may stand in their way.
(Hmm, maybe the character can become a Bodhissatva instead of a Sephirot?)
Finally, the character may reach the stage of the Demiurge. Now the character has the power to create reality and metareality in their own image- but what will they create?
(And what’s the phase after Bodhissatva-dom then? Hmmm.)
What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?
Players take the role of their character, and antagonists, and play out scenes of conflict. I need to think more about this.
How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
The setting is a gnostic, kabbalistic view of the universe. Our own world is a lie- human souls are kept in a state of suffering, so the immediate state of awareness is a world much like our own, only darker. Sorcerer level play takes place in that framework.
How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?
Players create human connections for their characters- friends, family, beliefs. These are all things the character loves, but they are fetters that hold the character back.
What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
The character needs to overcome their human base connections- either by destroying it, or transforming it into a new, posthuman connection.
How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
Only by doing so can a character gain Gnosis and become more aware and advance in the structure of the game.
How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
Whoever wins conflicts gets narration. Winning conflicts is heavily tied to having more Gnosis. If you have more Gnosis, your paradigm of reality is more correct.
What does your game do to command the players’ attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
It’s pretty fucked up. That draws my interest. Hopefully, they’ll find Ben Lehman’s art sufficiently haunting to draw them in.
What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
I’m thinking something about bidding chips.
How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
It’s all tied back to Gnosis, and what you’re willing to do.
Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
Yup. Gnosis is advancement, as are special powers.
What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
Introspection, questioning the nature of humanity, and the role of the divine in the universe.
What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
What the universe looks like to Sorcerers. Ben’s art had a huge effect on me, and I want that to carry over into how Sorcerers view the world around them.
Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
Just the whole thing. It practically popped into my head as a whole.
Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?
The subject matter is pretty occult and arcane, in the non-supernatural meanings of the words. There aren’t a lot of games that let you be God (or Cthulhu)
What are your publishing goals for your game?
It’s a game chef entry, and depending on how it goes, I’d like to do another book run, similar to Awesome Adventures.
Who is your target audience?
People who liked Mage: the Awakening, Paul Czerge’s Acts of Evil, or Nobilis.