Sunday, October 27, 2013

Numenera Campaign

Numenera is a science fantasy roleplaying game set in the far distant future created by Monte Cook. From a purely mechanical standpoint it's a very streamlined and straight forward system. It was designed to lessen the burden on Game Masters so they can spend more time on story and world crafting. As a soon to be Numenera Game Master, I really appreciate it.

For one thing, it's so easy to come up with obstacles on the fly. Everything that the PC encounter has a standardized difficulty level from 1 to 10 which applies to anything the player do to interact with it. Lets say that there is a level 3 metal door that the players need to get by. The target number the PC need to roll is always three times it's level, so for this example they need to roll a 9 or better for any action. It doesn't matter if they choice to pick the door's lock or bashing it down, their target remains 9. However, if a player has a skill or is carrying a applicable asset (such as ram or lock picks) the task becomes easier.

In Numenera, bonuses or penalties to actions are not common. Any skills or assets a player has usually drops the difficulty level specially for the action attempted, which in turn lowers the target number. Another way the player can drop an action's level is by applying effort. By choosing to exerting extra effort into a given task, a character makes it easier at the cost of points from their stat pools. For the full run down on Numenera stat system, check out this link:

Two other very interest features of Numenera are it's experience mechanics and character creation. Experience points are not handed out for killing monsters, instead they are earned through discovery and GM interventions. GM don't have to roll dice (unless they want to) so they use interventions to add complication to the narrative. The GM offers up a challenge to the player which will grant them 2 XP. However, if a player has unspent experience on hand they can choice to refuse it by paying 1 XP and forgoing the 2 XP bonus.     

Character Creation is very quick and painless compared to more complex systems such as Pathfinder or Shadowrun. In my experience, building a character in pathfidner or shadowrun takes about 30 minutes using Hero Lab, or an hour or longer by hand. There are so many options in systems it takes time to figure out all the specifics. In Numenera, it takes maybe half an hour by hand or considerably less time if you use the character create app or There are only three major choices you have to make and this sentence is a tool to guide you through the process :

_Name_ is a _Adjective_ (descriptor) _Noun_ (Class) who _Verb_ (Focus Ability)

All you have to do is fill in the blanks and they then pick a few options. This sentence is also a handy way of describing your character. It hits all the key points a gives a clear idea of your character is capable of.  

 Starting next week I'm going to be running a short Numenera Campain on called "The Forever Dream"The game is set in a very weird town, even by Ninth World standards. The town is called "Bless" to it's residents and by "Jellyvill" or "That wet and smelly village full of floating telepathic jellyfish" (they look like the above photo.) But to the players, it's just home sweet home. They have lived in Bless all their lives so jellyfish, the Forever Dream, and Divine Quests are just business as usual. The Sleeping Priests that run the town send them and other residents on Divine Quest, normally to gather Numenera, which they have to complete complete. One simply doesn't ignore the will of the Living God "Narcomedusae," the creator of The Forever Dream and giver of immortality. However, the player's next Divine Quest is something special. A mission of such vial importance that the fate of the entire town rest in their hands.

I have a full group of four players and our first game is on Friday, November 01 at 7:00PM. I'm planning on post session summaries on this blog.