I’ve got Numenera on my Mind

Last Friday the Fallout campaign I was running came to an end. So we started thinking about what I could run next. For a while we thought about another Fate game, perhaps even Atomic Robo, but then I proposed Numenera. My players had a look at some of the artwork on the internet and listened to me describing the setting in a few broad strokes and were sold immediately.

So I used the last few days to read the core rule book. I quickly realized that most of the rules are pretty simple but should be quite effective, even though I still struggle with the Effort rules. Perhaps I have to check out a few actual play examples to understand how it works. But overall I like the rules a lot.

But the highlight of the game is of course the setting. The combination of the fantasy, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic genres is pretty awesome, the Ninth World is huge, weird, and not too detailed which pretty much allows the GM to do their own thing.

Have you played or run Numenera already? What are your experiences? What are your thoughts on the setting? Please share your comments below.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

9 thoughts on “I’ve got Numenera on my Mind”

  1. I think the thing about the DCs and effort that really caused things to click in an elegant way for me was the realization that the most difficult of reasonable tasks, DC10, can still be completed without possibility of failure, in perfect conditions. You can’t lower the DC by more than your effort. So a tier 6 character through effort can turn a DC10 task into a DC 4 task. If they are trained to the point of specialization (2, the limit there as well) that will drop it to a DC 2 task. If conditions are ideal to their circumstances and they get max assets (2), then it drops to DC0.

  2. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about Effort or anything else Numenera related. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does. 😉

    1. Then perhaps you could explain me how much a level of Effort costs? Either I missed the paragraph where it was explained, or the example given in the book just doesn’t explain it very well.

      1. If I remember right it’s 3 for the initial bit of effort, and 2 for every additional level after that. (Limited by your effort score.)

        It can get a little confusing in that, your edge can also shave off the cost of effort or abilities. (But also that your edge only gets used once per action. So you can’t use it to lower the cost of an ability AND the cost of any effort you’re spending.)

        (See page 21 in the Core Rulebook for more~)

          1. Just to clarify, you can use Edge on both effort and ability cost as long as you have enough Edge to cover it; you just can’t use Edge more than once per action.

            E.g. Using Onslaught (1 Intellect cost) with 1 level of Effort. If you have 4 Edge, the cost is 0. 1 Intellect to activate Onslaught + 3 Intellect for one level of Effort – 4 Edge = 0.

            I cover this in agonizing detail in episode 37 of GM Intrusions: http://www.starwalkerstudios.com/gmintrusions/2014/7/9/gm-intrusions-e37-kicking-numenera-in-the-shins

  3. Loved the setting, mostly because it allows, nay, demands players and GM to think out of the box pretty much continuously. Play is elegant and pretty much hassle free, the GM is free to narrate because that’s all he has left when he no longer rolls. It’s a more social game, because of the constant back and forth negotiation with players.

  4. I recently started running Numenera using Fate Core, so I can’t comment on the crunchy bits. But the Ninth World is fantastic. Lots to spark the imagination but not so much detail as to feel overwhelmed or hemmed in.

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