Numenera 2 allows players to choose from a total of six different character types: the Glaive, Nano, and Jack described in Numenera Discovery, and the Arkus, Wright, and Delve presented in Numenera Destiny.
We previewed the Wrights, scrappy salvagers and crafters, but today, let’s take a high-level look at the Arkus! (Trivia: The plural of Arkus is Arkai.)
Arkai are natural leaders of the Ninth World, using wit, rhetoric, and the strength that can be found in a group working together to overcome problems. “Arkus” is the common vernacular used by humans in the Steadfast and the Beyond for any person skilled in governing others, but in truth, it applies only to those who are specially gifted in leadership. Arkai have the potential to spearhead armies, cities, or even entire regions, because their abilities surpass those who are merely good at running a long confidence game.
People who haven’t don’t have a talent for leadership or who haven’t trained long and hard to lead others sometimes discount an Arkus’s abilities. Without personal experience in being an effective leader, it’s easy to assume that anyone can do it. In some ways, Arkai are seen at the opposite end of the continuum from Nanos. Where Nanos might be viewed with some suspicion and fear, mainly because what they do is unknown, anyone can imagine telling someone else what to do. Of course, the secret is that it’s incredibly hard to tell someone else the best thing to do, and not inadvertently leading followers into some kind of disaster. Assuming they listen at all.
Arkai are capable PCs and share the basic suite of beginning abilities that any explorer has, including knowledge of weapons, equipment, the ability to use Cyphers, starting Pools, and so on.
As community leaders, it probably comes as no surprise that Arkai have a choice in being trained in several different kinds of interaction. In addition, while an Arkus is present within and actively working on behalf of a community, the entire community’s ability to tackle any non-combat tasks is enhanced.
This sort of enhancement of an entire community’s ability is something most every PC type will bring to bear in some fashion, but as leaders, Arkai have the most influence.
Similarly, every PC type will be able to take advantage of an expanded system for gaining followers, but being the impressive people that they are, the opportunity an Arkus has for gaining followers is much expanded. While a Glaive might be able to gain a warrior follower at lower tier, an Arkus could choose any kind of follower, be that an explorer, a builder, a scholar, a baker, or even a typical follower. And as the Arkus gains tiers, the level and abilities of the kinds of followers they gain also increases.
Arkai possess a variety of abilities that demonstrate their commanding presence, including emoting confidence, knowledge, and charisma so strongly that anyone who sees the PC automatically assumes they are a leader, and thus treats them accordingly. Their rhetoric abilities start out strong, allowing them to influence other creatures simply by talking to them, an ability that only grows stronger as an Arkus gains tiers. And, depending on the abilities they choose, Arkai might be able to speak with almost any creature, no matter the language.
Of course, adventures often take place beyond the confines of cities and villages, and Arkai are well prepared to handle such expeditions. They have a variety of abilities that can help their allies, sway foes, and even attempt to command others in a way that transcends mere words. The power of the Arkus can impart ideals, make friends with those who’d rather fight, learn the minds of those who’d rather keep their secrets close, and more.
At upper tiers, Arkai can recruit powerful deputies to lead a community while they turn their attention to other tasks, rally a community mid-battle to give them one more chance to win, gain personal protection offered by an entire community of supporters, rouse a powerful champion to fight on their behalf, and even sway entire hordes (or build a horde and send it to raze an enemy city).
If you want a character good at leading a community—or just a small group—an Arkus is the type for you.