A Look at Numenera Discovery

Are you curious about what sorts of changes we’re making in Numenera Discovery?

Discovery‘s cosmetic changes alone will be drool-worthy, especially with all of the funded Numenera 2 Kickstarter stretch goals: new art, double-sided poster maps for each book, and a gorgeous slipcase with handouts and an inset Order of Truth medallion. But you know better than to judge a book by its cover; we know you’ll be wanting a preview of what changes are coming to the text. Here is a list of some of the changes to whet your appetite.

Type Improvements

We’re improving the Jack by providing it with its own list of abilities, particularly non-combat abilities, so it stands out as its own unique type instead being sort of a hybrid between a Glaive and a Nano. For example, a new ability might allow a Jack to easily bypass doors or other physical obstacles, whether that’s done with numenera, coincidence, or being lucky. We’re updating the Glaive (particularly at higher tiers) so it is as fun to play and the same power level as a Nano—a powerful Glaive should be able to do some incredible things, just like legendary warriors from old stories.

One of the new things we’re working on for all three types is the ability to acquire a follower who helps or complements a character’s own abilities. A Glaive might recruit a crafty Nano to make cyphers, a Nano might recruit a talkative Jack to handle negotiations, or a Jack might recruit a tough Glaive as a bodyguard. We’re also adding more choices to all three types, with an eye for things that are useful when exploring the world and while in a community-oriented campaign. Likewise, we’re updating foci so you get to choose from multiple abilities at tier 3 and 5, so two characters with the same foci can end up very different.

New Adventures

We’re going to replace the adventures in the Numenera corebook with brand new ones. Not that there’s anything wrong with the current adventures, we just think it’s a good opportunity to give you some new adventure content! We’re also adding to the setting material in the book—in the years since the original release of Numenera, we’ve expanded our coverage of the Ninth World in several other supplements, and Numenera Discovery will include some information on those areas. We won’t be lifting large sections from those books, but we’ll include enough that a person new to the Ninth World will be intrigued by these snippets and want to find out more.

Illustration by Bruce Brenneise

Clearer Rules Language

One general change we’re making throughout the book is making the rules language more natural so it’s easier to read and understand. Numenera is a narrative game with an emphasis on story, and if the rules sound like a person talking rather than a textbook, that helps put the focus what happens in the campaign instead of the underlying dice rolls. For example, we might use the term “hinders” to mean “increases the difficulty of a task by one step,” so a character ability description could say, “this hinders the target’s attack,” which could be how your character describes the ability to another character in the world. Language streamlining like this would be explicitly defined, and we’ll listen carefully to the playtester feedback to make sure that these changes we’re discussing are as clear as they need to be. We’re also considering importing rules that we developed in our other books, such as how armor works in the Cypher System Rulebook and the companion creature rules from Predation.

If you want more details about these planned changes, we’ll be previewing some specific examples later in the Kickstarter campaign, and the playtester backers will have access to a whole lot more.

Sean Reynolds
Sean Reynolds

Sean K Reynolds grew up in southern California. He’s been a webmaster, game designer, developer, freelancer-wrangler, and many other jobs that can’t be described in one or two words. He’s worked on a couple hundred books for a half a dozen RPGs, designed videogames, taught classes on game design, written plays and musicals, judged international talent-search contests, won game design awards, and had bit parts in geeky movies. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his four cats. Sean is the Community Relations Coordinator at Monte Cook Games.