Numenera Corebook: A Guide to the Science Fantasy RPG by Monte Cook
Numenera Corebook: A Science Fantasy Roleplaying Game by Monte Cook
If you are looking for a roleplaying game that combines science fiction and fantasy, that lets you explore a weird and wonderful world full of ancient mysteries and futuristic wonders, that gives you simple and elegant rules that focus on story and creativity, then you might want to check out Numenera Corebook by Monte Cook.
Numenera Corebook Monte Cook
Numenera is a science fantasy roleplaying game set in the far distant future, where humanity lives amid the remnants of eight great civilizations that have risen and fallen on Earth. These are the people of the Ninth World, a world filled with remnants of all the former worlds: bits of nanotechnology, the dataweb threaded among still-orbiting satellites, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange and wondrous devices. These remnants have become known as the numenera, and they are the source of wonder, danger, and adventure in this game.
In this article, we will give you an overview of what Numenera is, how it works, what it offers, and why you should play it. We will also provide you with some useful links and resources to help you get started with this amazing game.
The Rules of Numenera
Numenera is a rules-light system that focuses on roleplaying over roll playing. It is designed to be easy to learn, easy to play, and easy to master. It is also designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing you to create any kind of character and any kind of story you want.
The core mechanic of Numenera is based on a simple formula: roll a d20 (a 20-sided die) and add any modifiers. If the result is equal to or higher than a target number (called the difficulty), you succeed. If not, you fail. The difficulty is determined by the GM (the game master, who runs the game and controls the world and the NPCs) based on how hard the task is. The difficulty ranges from 0 (routine) to 10 (impossible), and each level corresponds to a multiple of 3. For example, a difficulty 4 task has a target number of 12 (4 x 3), meaning you need to roll a 12 or higher on a d20 to succeed.
You can modify the difficulty by using skills, assets, effort, or cyphers. Skills are abilities that your character has learned or trained in, such as climbing, persuasion, or lore. Assets are anything that can help you with a task, such as tools, allies, or favorable circumstances. Effort is a measure of how much you push yourself to succeed at a task, spending some of your character's resources (called pools) to lower the difficulty. Cyphers are one-use items that have powerful effects, such as healing wounds, creating illusions, or teleporting.
The rules of Numenera are based on four core concepts: character types, character foci, character descriptors, and the cypher system.
The Three Character Types
There are three character types in Numenera: glaives, nanos, and jacks. These are broad categories that define your character's role and abilities in the game. You can think of them as classes, but they are more flexible and customizable than traditional classes.
Glaives are warriors who excel at combat and physical feats. They are trained in weapons, armor, and martial arts. They can use their might, speed, or intellect pools to apply effort to tasks. They have abilities such as Bash, No Need for Weapons, or Trained Without Armor.
Nanos are mages who manipulate the numenera and the forces of nature. They are skilled in understanding, using, and creating devices and effects. They can use their intellect pool to apply effort to any task. They have abilities such as Scan, Onslaught, or Hedge Magic.
Jacks are explorers who are good at a little bit of everything. They are versatile, adaptable, and resourceful. They can use any of their pools to apply effort to any task. They have abilities such as Flex Skill, Thrust, or Tinker.
The Three Character Foci
There are three character foci in Numenera: bears a halo of fire, commands mental powers, and works miracles. These are specific themes that define your character's special abilities and personality. You can think of them as subclasses, but they are more unique and flavorful than traditional subclasses.
Bears a halo of fire is a focus for characters who have a fiery aura that can harm enemies, protect allies, or create effects. They have abilities such as Fiery Hand, Halo, or Incinerate.
Commands mental powers is a focus for characters who have psychic abilities that can affect minds, emotions, or perceptions. They have abilities such as Mind Reading, Mind Control, or Telepathy.
Works miracles is a focus for characters who have divine powers that can heal wounds, bless allies, or curse enemies. They have abilities such as Healing Touch, Grace, or Miracle Worker.
The Three Character Descriptors
There are three character descriptors in Numenera: clever, graceful, and strong. These are adjectives that describe your character's traits and background. You can think of them as modifiers, but they are more than just numbers. They also affect your character's skills, equipment, connections, and personality.
Clever is a descriptor for characters who are smart, witty, and cunning. They have a +2 bonus to their intellect pool, a skill in one area of knowledge or lore, a cypher that grants an intellect-related effect, and a connection to an NPC who is either an ally or an enemy.
Graceful is a descriptor for characters who are agile, elegant, and charming. They have a +2 bonus to their speed pool, a skill in one area of movement or social interaction, a cypher that grants a speed-related effect, and a connection to an NPC who is either a friend or a rival.
Strong is a descriptor for characters who are powerful, tough, and resilient. They have a +2 bonus to their might pool, a skill in one area of physical activity or endurance, a cypher that grants a might-related effect, and a connection to an NPC who is either a mentor or a protege.
The Cypher System
The cypher system is the core feature of Numenera that sets it apart from other roleplaying games. It is based on the idea that the numenera are everywhere in the Ninth World, and that they can be used by anyone for anything.
Cyphers are one-use items that have powerful effects. They can be anything from ancient devices to strange substances to living organisms. They can do anything from healing wounds to creating illusions to teleporting. They are the main source of treasure and adventure in Numenera.
The cypher system encourages creativity and experimentation by giving players access to many different cyphers throughout the game. The GM randomly generates cyphers from tables or creates them on the fly based on the situation. The players decide how to use them to overcome challenges or create opportunities. The cyphers also create tension and risk by limiting how many each character can carry at once (called the cypher limit) and by having potential side effects or drawbacks (called the cypher danger).
The GM Intrusions
The GM intrusions are another feature of Numenera that makes it different from other roleplaying games. They are based on the idea that the Ninth World is unpredictable and chaotic, and that anything can happen at any time.
The Setting of Numenera
The setting of Numenera is the Ninth World, a vast and diverse world that has been shaped by the civilizations of the past. The Ninth World is divided into three main regions: the Steadfast, the Beyond, and the Other Worlds.
The Steadfast is a collection of nine kingdoms and principalities that are united by a common religion, called the Order of Truth or the Amber Papacy. The Order of Truth is led by the Amber Pope, who resides in the city of Qi, and is supported by the Aeon Priests, who study and use the numenera for the benefit of humanity. The Steadfast is the most civilized and stable region of the Ninth World, but it is also plagued by political intrigue, religious conflict, and ancient threats.
Some of the notable locations in the Steadfast are:
Navarene: A wealthy and cultured kingdom that is known for its trade, art, and education. It is ruled by Queen Armalu, who has a keen interest in the numenera and sponsors many expeditions into the Beyond.
Ghan: A harsh and militaristic kingdom that is constantly at war with its neighbors, especially Navarene and Thaemor. It is ruled by King Noren, who is obsessed with expanding his territory and power.
Thaemor: A proud and ancient kingdom that claims to be the oldest and most noble in the Steadfast. It is ruled by King Orenna II, who is a descendant of Orenna I, the founder of the Order of Truth.
Iscobal: A mysterious and secretive kingdom that is shrouded in mist and rumors. It is ruled by Queen Niarra, who is said to be a powerful nano and a master of illusions.
Auspar: A small and isolated principality that is surrounded by mountains and forests. It is ruled by Prince Ryden, who is a benevolent and popular leader.
Draolis: A prosperous and diverse kingdom that is known for its innovation, commerce, and entertainment. It is ruled by King Laird, who is a charismatic and ambitious leader.
Malevich: A bleak and oppressive kingdom that is ruled by fear and violence. It is ruled by King Zarkov XI, who is a cruel and paranoid tyrant.
Thal Amon: A peaceful and spiritual principality that is devoted to nature and harmony. It is ruled by Prince Arden IV, who is a wise and gentle leader.
The Pytharon Empire: A vast and powerful empire that spans across several lands beyond the Steadfast. It is ruled by Emperor Sebastes XXIII, who is a ruthless and ambitious conqueror.
The Beyond is a vast wilderness that surrounds the Steadfast, stretching to the edges of the known world. It is a land of wonder and danger, where anything can happen and nothing can be taken for granted. The Beyond is home to many isolated communities, called aldeia, that are often centered around claves of Aeon Priests who have discovered and mastered various numenera. The Beyond also has many ruins of the past civilizations, where ancient secrets and treasures await those who dare to explore them.
Some of the notable locations in the Beyond are:
The Cloudcrystal Skyfields: A region where huge crystals float in the sky, creating dazzling patterns of light and shadow. Some of these crystals are inhabited by strange creatures or contain hidden chambers with numenera devices.
The Black Riage: A mountain range that separates the Steadfast from most of the Beyond. The mountains are covered with black metal spikes that emit weird energies and interfere with numenera devices.
The Ba-Adenu Forest: A forest that covers a large area of land between two rivers. The forest is filled with exotic plants and animals, some of which are bio-engineered or mutated by numenera effects.
The Plains of Kataru: A vast plain that stretches to the east of the Ba-Adenu Forest. The plain is dotted with ancient structures and machines that sometimes activate or malfunction, creating hazards or opportunities for travelers.
The Wandering Walk: A legendary pilgrimage route that crosses the entire Ninth World, from the Frozen South to the Clock of Kala. The Walk is followed by many seekers of enlightenment, adventure, or fortune, who encounter many wonders and perils along the way.
The Other Worlds
The Other Worlds are the realms beyond the Ninth World, that can be accessed by various means, such as portals, numenera devices, or psychic abilities. The Other Worlds are as diverse and mysterious as the Ninth World, and some of them may have connections to the past civilizations or the future of humanity.
Some of the notable Other Worlds are:
The datasphere: The network of information and communication that spans across the solar system, created by the previous worlds. The datasphere can be accessed by nanos or numenera devices, and contains vast amounts of data, some of which are useful, some of which are dangerous, and some of which are incomprehensible.
The night side: The dark side of the moon, where a hidden civilization of humans lives in a massive city called Nihliesh. The night side can be reached by numenera devices that create wormholes or by spacecrafts that can survive the harsh environment.
The recursion: A pocket dimension that is created by the collective imagination of a group of people. The recursion can have any theme or genre, such as fantasy, horror, or science fiction, and can be influenced by the visitors or the natives.
The Adventures of Numenera
Numenera is a game of discovery and exploration, where the players take on the roles of adventurers who seek out the secrets and wonders of the Ninth World. The adventures of Numenera are driven by the curiosity and creativity of the players and the GM, who collaborate to create stories that are unique and memorable.
The adventures of Numenera are based on two core concepts: how to create a Numenera adventure and how to run a Numenera adventure.
How to Create a Numenera Adventure
Creating a Numenera adventure is a simple and fun process that involves three steps: choosing a hook, choosing a location, and choosing a twist.
A hook is a question or a mystery that sparks the interest of the players and motivates them to start an adventure. A hook can be anything from a rumor to a quest to a challenge. For example, a hook could be: What is the origin of the strange lights in the sky? Who is the mysterious benefactor who offers a reward for finding a lost numenera device? How can you stop the rampaging abhuman horde that threatens your aldeia?
A location is a place where the adventure takes place. A location can be anything from a ruin to a city to an otherworld. A location should have some features that make it interesting and relevant to the hook. For example, a location could be: A crashed spaceship that contains alien technology and creatures. A hidden clave that holds a secret library of ancient lore. A portal that leads to a recursion based on fairy tales.
A twist is an unexpected complication or revelation that changes the course of the adventure. A twist can be anything from a betrayal to a discovery to a danger. A twist should have some impact on the hook and the location, and challenge or surprise the players. For example, a twist could be: The spaceship is actually alive and hostile to intruders. The secret library is guarded by a powerful nano who wants to keep it for himself. The portal is unstable and may close at any time.
How to Run a Numenera Adventure
Running a Numenera adventure is an easy and fun process that involves three principles: be flexible, be creative, and be generous.
Be flexible means that you should be ready to adapt to the choices and actions of the players, and not force them to follow a predetermined plot or path. You should let them explore the world at their own pace and in their own way, and improvise when necessary. You should also be open to their ideas and suggestions, and incorporate them into the story when appropriate.
Be creative means that you should use your imagination and inspiration to make the adventure engaging and memorable. You should use vivid descriptions, interesting NPCs, and exciting events to bring the world to life. You should also use numenera effects, GM intrusions, and cyphers to add flavor and variety to the game.
Sample Adventure: The Beale of Boregal
The Beale of Boregal is a sample adventure that is included in the Numenera corebook. It is designed to introduce the players and the GM to the basics of the game and the setting. It is also a great example of how to create and run a Numenera adventure.
The Beale of Boregal is a hook that involves a mysterious phenomenon that occurs every night in the northern sky: a bright blue light that flashes and then fades away. The players are hired by an Aeon Priest named Aram to investigate the source of the light and find out what it is. Aram believes that the light is related to an ancient device called the Beale, which was created by one of the previous worlds and has immense power.
The location of the adventure is a region of the Beyond called the Cloudcrystal Skyfields, where huge crystals float in the sky and create dazzling patterns of light and shadow. The players have to travel along a stretch of the Wandering Walk, a legendary pilgrimage route that crosses the entire Ninth World, and encounter various challenges and opportunities along the way. They also have to deal with a rival group of explorers who are also after the Beale, led by a nano named Nils.
The twist of the adventure is that the Beale is actually a living creature, a massive leviathan that dwells in a lake under one of the floating crystals. The blue light is its eye, which it opens every night to scan the sky for threats or signs of its kind. The Beale is ancient and lonely, and has been waiting for eons for someone to communicate with it. The players have to decide whether to try to befriend the Beale, exploit it, or destroy it.
Numenera is a science fantasy roleplaying game that offers a unique and exciting experience for both players and GMs. It is a game of discovery and exploration, where you can create any kind of character and any kind of story you want. It is a game of wonder and danger, where you can encounter ancient mysteries and futuristic wonders. It is a game of creativity and imagination, where you can use simple and elegant rules that focus on story and fun.
If you are interested in playing Numenera, you will need the Numenera corebook, which contains everything you need to start your adventure in the Ninth World. You can also check out other Numenera products, such as supplements, adventures, accessories, and more. You can find them on Monte Cook Games' website or on DriveThruRPG.com.
Why You Should Play Numenera
You should play Numenera if you want to:
Explore a weird and wonderful world full of ancient mysteries and futuristic wonders.
Create any kind of character and any kind of story you want.
Use simple and elegant rules that focus on story and fun.
Experience a game of discovery and exploration, where anything can happen and nothing can be taken for granted.
Have fun with your friends and create memorable stories together.
Where to Buy Numenera Corebook
You can buy Numenera Corebook from various online retailers, such as:
Monte Cook Games Store: You can buy Numenera Corebook as a hardcover book or as a PDF file. You can also find other Numenera products on Monte Cook Games' website.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Numenera:
What is numenera?
Numenera are the remnants of the past civilizations that have risen and fallen on Earth. They are bits of nanotechnology, bio-engineering, dataweb, and other strange and wondrous devices that can do anything from healing wound