I missed Numenera

Not many interesting worlds are created nowadays, so I must admit I’m pretty sceptic when I see one new attempt.

A few months ago I saw another kickstarter related to rpgs, what is becoming as usual as plain boring. This one was called Numenera (kickstarter), and claimed to be the new roleplaying game from Monte Cook.

Numenera rpg cover

So who, or what, is this Monte Cook? Well, he is a writer and famous game designer. He worked in TSR when they owned the D&D game, and later in Wizards of the Coast when the game changed hands. He is well known for participating in the design of the famous Planescape setting, the massive Rolemaster or even the last Cthulhu d20.

And the obvious question is, why you didn’t join the kickstarter of this genius? The main reason is that Numenera is another d20 role playing game. I hate the 20-sided die for all their total randomness, and everlasting rolling time. There are too many systems based on the d20 since Wizards released the famous d20 SRD, which is the core of D&D 3.5 and it is public.

I was probably wrong, because if it had been a waste of time and money, it would have never got more than $500,000! And that is a lot of money. I was blinded by the d20, and didn’t see how special the setting was.

The official description is better than any explanation I can offer:

The setting of the Ninth World book is presented with extensive GM advice. Rather than nail down every single detail, I instead provide you with tips from my 35 years of GMing experience to help you create the details and run the game. This allows you complete creative control while ensuring you have all the guidance you need to create fantastic experiences for your players.

With the science fantasy setting, things are intentionally set up so that science fiction fans will enjoy the technology, and fantasy fans will enjoy the flavor of how it is handled, because as Arthur C. Clarke stated, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” As I have written previously, science fantasy allows for all sorts of wild, imaginative ideas. Making things vaguely post-apocalyptic ensures that the GM maintains as much control as he or she needs over the amount of crazy technology the PCs get their hands on. In other words, there’s a lot of wonderful stuff for characters to use, but they need to go on adventures to acquire it–they can’t buy it in the corner shop.

I will provide many, many more previews of setting (and system) in coming weeks and months, but for now let it suffice to say that the setting is extremely usable while allowing really imaginative, creative material, the combination of which allows for fun, challenging adventures.

Check the official website of Numenera. You will see inspiring illustrations by Kieran Yanner, and even read the Amber Monolith, a short story written by Monte Cook.

Amber Monolith cover
Amber Monolith cover

Check it out and let me know what you think!

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3 thoughts on “I missed Numenera”

  1. Well… I like the idea of mixing technology and magic as well as long as it is controllable. The character definition is a bit too flexible at this moment, but it can turn out ok when more details are provided.

    1. In the official webpage, Monte Cook is publishing the design diaries. Theres is an interesting post about how to limit the limitless, talking about how to control the magic/techology to get the right tone for the setting.

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