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Will a gift that allows a Lesser Change of Self fool the Sight?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

After some digging I found the following from Jenna Moran:

Using a Change of Self to conceal your divine nature does block the Sight.

That said using a Change of Self rather than a Creation of Illusion to achieve this kind of effect is a problematic Gift. I tried to write it up for Nobilis and failed, which is why Unblemished Guise has that hokey bit about "Legends tell of a Power who worked out a technique to change themselves to produce a deep Guise…and never worked magics or miracles again."

Here's the problem I ran into:

Suppose you can change yourself such that you are Noble, but do not appear to an observer to be Noble. Yet that observer is allowed to make their observations normally, because you've only changed yourself. Further, you still qualify as a Noble by certain obvious observational tests---being immune to direct miracles, e.g.

Suddenly the game is forced to look under the covers at the meaning of appearance and to appear as something. Just how much beauty is in the eye of the beholder? How much of your appearance, in short, is part of you, and how much is part of the onlooker? The world? The medium?

Next thing you know the gaming group is arguing about brains in vats, categorical imperatives, and trolleys; and that's great for SOME games of Nobilis, but not necessarily YOUR game. ^_^

Illusions are a bit cleaner, and work like a charm against both the Sight and lesser divinations.

What I'm really saying is: the burden's on you to define your Gift in such a fashion as to overcome the Sight; the 6-level difference means that if your Gift wins, it wins definitively, but for deciding what happens the 6-level gap is a lot less important than thinking through / deciding what is actually going on when your Gift interacts with other creatures of the spiritus Dei.

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This isn't spelled out anywhere, but if you look at the description of the Sight on p. 87, and at the various examples that mention the Sight, all instances of the Sight failing involve something extraordinary, whether deliberate effort or fundamental to the object.

The entry on the Sight mentions that Excrucians and some Powers have the ability to conceal themselves from the Sight:

Powers possess a mystic "Sight" that enables them to identify others of their kind as Nobilis, magical objects as magical, Anchors as Anchors, Imperators as Imperators, Excrucians as Excrucians, and so forth. […] Excrucians and (more rarely) Powers can conceal themselves from the Sight. — Nobilis, p. 87-8

The Unblemished Guise sample Gift is described a way of hiding one's supernatural nature from the Sight by use of a Lesser Creation of Illusion:

Even a Power or an Excrucian-shard will think that they are human […] This is a Lesser Creation of Illusion […] he was hidden from them there, invisible to the Sight, until he next called upon his miraculous abilities. — p. 122

Incomprehensible Imperators grant their Powers invisibility to the Sight because

Those whose understanding of reality is based upon life on Earth – or any of the other Realms of this Creation — cannot truly apprehend their mode of existence. […] Such Powers are invisible to the Sight, even as a vampire is invisible in mirrors. — p. 147

Notably, a Major Change of Appearance can deceive the Sight:

…if a Deceiver assumes the spiritual shape of the Power of Storms, and uses this Gift on a mortal, the Deceiver will appear like that mortal to both normal and mystic sight, while having power over the storm — and that mortal will look like the Deceiver to the eye and like the Power of Storms to the Sight, while having no special powers at all.

This is a Major Change of Appearance. — p. 204

What can be gleaned from all this is that a lesser Change of Self is likely not powerful enough to fool the sight, but more to the point is not the right kind of miracle/Gift to hope to deceive the Sight. Only effects that are inherently deceptive through directly altering their spiritual Appearance (hence their Appearance to the Sight) or by deliberately masking their nature through Illusion will fool the Sight. Those miracles and Gifts that do fool the Sight deliberately aim to do so.

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