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Sketch - Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine

A sketch I made of the eponymous Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-granting Engine, for Jenna Moran's upcoming tabletop RPG. I'd done some work as an emergency fill-in artist for Nobilis - the pieces can be found in my Nobilis gallery folder - and I went on to offer my meager talents as a concept artist for the spin-off RPG as well.

CMWGE, for the uninitiated, is a weird and wondrous setting that reads a bit like the offspring of Nobilis and a Ghibli movie. It's being touted as THE RPG for simulating pastoral fantasy, MLP:FiM, Homestuck, and anime series like Kamichu or Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars.
The game is a spin-off of Nobilis, which I adore, and it also serves as a testbed for Nobilis game design ideas - in it, you can play characters which are usually relegated to NPC status, such as Imperators and Excrucians. Chuubo, for example, who owns this Engine, is technically a 108-mile long snake with powers that beggar the imagination.

CMWGE reached the main stretch goals of its Kickstarter Campaign, and the text is already fully written, so it will likely be available for purchase once the layout is done.


My goal for this piece was to make something that a kid could conceivably put together from things lying around, while also making it look good machine-wise. I erred a bit on the machine-like side of the spectrum - perhaps I should have incorporated stuff that looked more like repurposed kitchen appliances -but of course Chuubo could simply have wished for the Wish-granting Engine to look cooler as one of his first wishes.

I'm good at drawing organic, chaotic stuff like people and trees, and considerably worse at orderly precision stuff like cars and houses. Making steampunk-ish machinery is kind of on the organic side of things, though - this was pretty fun :)


The Marvelous Wish-granting Engine is, as it sounds, a machine for granting wishes. Once a week or so, Chuubo can go up to it and make a wish, which is then granted with nigh-unstoppable miraculous force. Chuubo is a laid-back sort of guy, and tends to wish for stuff like ice-cream. Even so, his wishes can still backfire in spectacular ways when they're not aligned with his nature (or if the players would find it funny). Witness some sample wishes of his (from the playbook excerpt):
38. “I wish I both had, and could eat, an ice cream.”
39. “I wish an ice cream would appear, and then events would proceed naturally.”
40. “I wish an ice cream would appear in a context such as to allow me to eat it, and then events
would proceed naturally.”
41. “I wish that I were better at making wishes involving ice cream.”

You may wonder whether it upsets the game balance to have a character who can transform into a Kaiju-size snake and ALSO make wishes. The answer is no; basically every character has or can acquire similarly reality-breaking abilities. And they still have to do chores for their parents and worry about grades. It's that kind of game ;)


Quote from Chuubo's playbook in The Glassmaker's Dragon (early gametest version; I thought the text fit better.)

You are a simple, ordinary kid. You live in Horizon, a foggy gothic ruin not far from Fortitude where this campaign is set. You’re not particularly smart or fast or strong or anything, but even ordinary kids like you can get a good idea now and then. Your idea was building a wishgranting engine that actually works.
So you did!
Don’t believe me? Go look! It’s right there! Built exactly to your plans, with your name on that plaque in the bottom right corner.


Once per week, after each Sunday’s dawn, you can go down to your Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine and make a wish.

The wheels and cogs in the Engine will turn. The sparkers will spark. The creaking component of your Engine will creak, and the portion that’s intended for honking will honk, and there will be a silvery shimmer from the bells, and that make-a-joyful-noise component that you built will give a joyful shout; and then the whole thing will shudder and burn with its power and the shining beacon at the top will fire off a lance of light to Heaven; and your wish —
Whatever wish you make! —
Comes true.
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Lady-MAPI's avatar
Eh, the 108-mile-long-snake thing is much less impressive when you remember that turning into a giant snake never helps.
Basileon's avatar
First, Nobilis 3e and Diary of Deceivers. Now this. My wallet, it weeps!
xPUPPETEERx14x's avatar
I like it! Keep it up
mr-author's avatar
That's pretty awesome.
Asgar19's avatar
I like it a lot, the brown paper gives a nice steampunk-y feel to it.
CrypticManifestation's avatar
very nice, I like the cobbled look of the engine, it does feel very organic like point out while also being very machine like. Is this going to be in the book?
Elyandarin's avatar
I doubt it; it was meant as a concept sketch, after all - it's why the brown-paper background - and I haven't heard anything about cleaning it up or so.
Since it's the thing the entire RPG is named after, I'm guessing they'll spend the money to have a way higher-level artist than me make some gorgeous images of it.
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