Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Jordan

Experiences with Numenera

Recommended Posts

Okay so Ive officially gotten my TT game of Numenera off the ground , weve had our first session (sort of), Hurray!

Let me start off by saying that character creation is unbelievably easy. While all my players had the sentence-concepts for their characters 2 of the 3 hadnt actually put the characters on paper. One of my players made the comment that she was surprised that creation was so quick, she kept comment that she felt like she forgot something for her character. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing is a matter of personal taste but if you have one of those players that never writes anything down and thus prolongs the character creation process (like I do) it will make things go faster so its a good thing for me.

The majority of the session was spent working on the communal backstory for the characters and dealing with some house rules issues that I wanted to get out of the way before things really started. As a note, my group has used some of the rules in the optional section regarding character creation. I have one player who took an advance of 20 xp pushing him 1 advance into tier 2. He took the minor complication of wanted for 4 xp and the major complication of Dependant (his 6 year old daughter that travels with him) for 16 xp. Our Jack took the major complication of being actively hunted for 16 xp, and finally our Glaive took just a minor complication of Dependant (She is the Nanos sister and helps take care of her niece, the 6 year old but isnt her primary caretaker) for 4 xp. Despite the disparity in xp and tier everyone seems happy.

I also made a ruling on using too many Cyphers. Instead of rolling randomly on the chart in the book too see if anything bad happens, I am just employing a general level of disadvantage to all test the PC makes. In addition I can make GM interventions regarding the Cyphers without awarding xp. That keeps things nice and simple yet still allows us to have those fun Oh crap all my potions bottles just shattered moments.

Next I assigned Cyphers and Oddities. That was a lot of fun to roll but Cyphers seem really strong. For example the Glaive ended up with a Pressure Detonation that deals 6 damage to everyone in an immediate area within long range! The nano got a Shocker that does 8 damage on a touch attack! The Jack got an Instant Servant that is basically a level 6 minion that will last for 6 hours! Holy crap! Still it will be fun to see how they use them.

Finally (after a brief dinner break) we got to the adventure itself. Setting the scene was fairly easy although I found I had to preak the narrative more than I like to explain certain things that should be common knowledge to the characters but which the players knew nothing about. Still the looks on their faces as I described what a Pallone and Scutimorph was priceless. My major complaint so far was the common conceit tat befalls most prewritten adventures and that is it assumes that the PCs are not only Heroic, but will jump into the presented scenario without question or hesitation. Its nothing that cant be worked around, but it is still one of those irksome things that I take notice of.

By this time we didnt hae much of a change to really get into it but a few rolls were made. One nice things Ive discovered is that because of the way NPCs are handled, almost no prep is needed on my part as far as stating things out goes. Just pick a level/difficulty number for whatever the PCs are encountering and that basically sets all the numbers you need for the game. I found the few decisions/adjutications I had to make to be quite easy and far less stressful than in other games.

All in all, we are liking the game so far. I eagerly await the next session so we can see how the game really plays. I shall keep you all posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next I assigned Cyphers and Oddities. That was a lot of fun to roll but Cyphers seem really strong. For example the Glaive ended up with a Pressure Detonation that deals 6 damage to everyone in an immediate area within long range! The nano got a Shocker that does 8 damage on a touch attack! The Jack got an Instant Servant that is basically a level 6 minion that will last for 6 hours! Holy crap! Still it will be fun to see how they use them.

,,

Cyphers are meant to have a huge impact on play, balanced by the fact that they can't load up on them and that they are all one use items. So yeah, you might be able to drop a pressure detonator on a group of broken hounds and end an encounter early and easily, but that's a one-off and they are now unable to use that same thing later when they might find they need it more.

,,

I look at Cyphers as the moments of awesome that propel the group between the quieter scenes. In Numenera's case they pack a lot of bang for the buck, but they are still not something to be spammed out like a character in a supers game like M&M could do, and thus they don't really break things so much as make the story more interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So going on 3 months now with the game and with about 6 table top sessions under my belt (and the game running here at the moment) I can expand on my own thoughts on the game somewhat.

,,

Game play:

In general I have found that after a session or two the players have picked up the game play pretty well. The recovery rolls were a little hiccup since they are played differently than recover in other games, and I still see players grabbing the die and throwing it before deciding on spending effort but they are getting better. Generally I am also seeing that people seem to use a low level of effort a lot, but now that they are higher tier (3 at the moment) my table top group almost seems reluctant to throw out more than 2 levels of effort, even when they know the difficulty they face.

,,

Mechanics:

As mentioned above the play is generally smooth and I find that the simple mechanics allow for an easier time for both players and myself as GM to do what they want to do in game. There are very few special rules to remember and worst case I can just assign a difficulty as needed using the 0-10 scale to keep things moving. Likewise the ease and quickness of creating new NPCs for combat makes it a breeze to compensate on the fly for player difficulty. We added a new player a few sessions back and once I realized that I wasn't going to have time to run what I had originally planned I ran instead a player driven attack on a thieves guild, quickly scaling the number and difficulty of the resistance to keep things challenging and also keep the players on their toes. Likewise GM intervention makes for short work to throw a curve-ball. You can retroactively have a blade be poisoned, and call for a might check and some damage for instance.

,,

Setting:

The setting it light enough that it let's me do as I want to keep the game moving, or to alter existing adventures to fit into the geographic locale of the players. Likewise it is strange enough that almost anything goes. Last time out the players flew up to a flying city to raid it for old tech, numenera, and then had to track down a thief for their employer. A future session will see them visiting a region of twisted space that is bigger on the inside (and, no, it is not an intentional Doctor Who homage). On the flip side there is at least a little information for almost all of the major regions and points of interest as well as rumors and plot hooks that can be used to generate new story ideas. It's pretty easy to ask for a couple of minutes to read the two or three paragraphs on a given city/town/monument and then off you go back with the game.

,,

Cyphers:

While I could have talked about this in the mechanics section the cyphers are the meat of the game's engine and so they warrant their own section here. I've generated all of my cyphers thus far via random dice rolling, and as a result I have handed out a variety of items of various degrees of utility. Combat and recovery cyphers are clearly the easiest for players to decide on appropriate use; though there was an initial tendency to hoard that has been less of an issue as a couple of "accidents" have destroyed cyphers being held in excess.

,,

Likewise a powerful black hole cypher proved too treacherous and the group sold it because they simply could not figure out a safe way to deploy the massively destructive device without causing their own deaths. Others have been of interesting use providing one time abilities like language translation (albeit one way), and improved skills or altered abilities (like water breathing). In general I am finding that even when I hand out "too many" the group has learned to carefully distribute excess to minimize side effects and when need be they are willing to sell others to fund the purchase of specific items to meet their goals.

,,

Overall the wide variety of cypher effects and the random distribution of the same has helped to keep play interesting as they seldom have the same power more than once, making each combat dynamic and different even if the foes are similar. Likewise never has a cypher proved "game breaking" in strength or scope, largely because of the single use nature of the devices.

,,

Overall:

,,

Generally speaking I am having a blast with the game, and finding that as GM it is fairly quick and easy to change things on the fly and go "off script" when needed. Likewise the abundance of weird within the game means that any idea you come up with will probably fit in eventually. I'm hoping that down the road one of the players will feel comfortable enough to set into the GM seat and allow me to see things on the other side of the table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×