Away they flew

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The first short session ended an hour ago. I let my players steal a 250-foot long cargo dirigible from Qi. They heard about an abandoned city high in the air and want to get there.

The party consists of Quinn, the brokenhearted glaive who howls to the moon (he turns into a long-limbed and long-snouted reptile), Akar, the mystical jack who exists partially out of phase, and Goggles, the clever nano who explores dark places.

They found the airship, called "River Queen" for some reason, moored in port. They had to choose one which could carry them out of the city. The engines had to be self-sufficient (they go on solar power). The dirigible was guarded by just a few men, who were quickly overpowered. The ropes were untied and the clamp at the bow released.

It was a little to easy, until they actually wanted to fly. Then Quinn, who boasts of having been an aerial pirate once, pulled a wrong lever making the airship collide with the mast. The roar of metal woke the remaining guards, but the nano threw his cypher at them, producing a large hemisphere of darkness. I let them fly away unchased... yet.

The session was very short so we didn't manage to test everything. What we did see is that the character creation was feasible even for people who despise rule-playing. We had but 3 simple encounters. What my players did object to, however, was the 2nd XP at the intrusion. For them, having to reward another player is an immersion breaking thing (so far, they grudgingly accept the idea of GM intrusions. 

Descriptor: Brokenhearted/Obsessed

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Created to fit the character history of one of my players. He had a crush on a girl who was taken from him and somehow put in a piece of synth he carries with himself everywhere.

You are obsessed with a lost love or an idea, almost to the point of monomania. It affects your thoughts and your moods. It directs your thinking. There was a hurtful event in your past that left you a human wreck and yet you plod forward to regain what you lost and who you were.

Psychically scarred: You get +2 Armour against all mental attacks. Some wounds can be suffered only once.

Skill: You are trained in all tasks which bring you closer to the object of your obsession. (Intentionnally broad, but the player who has it won't abuse it).

Inability: You're an emotional wreck. The difficulty of all tasks which require empathy is increased by one step.

Additional equipment: You've got a keepsake of your lost love or some item connected with your obsession (an oddity).

Initial Link to the Starting Adventure: From the following list of options, choose how you became involved in the first adventure.

  1. You believe that if you take part in this adventure, you'll get closer to your lost love.
  2. One of the PCs looks much like your lost love.
  3. In the company of the other PCs your obsession calms down a little and you feel better. You decide to stay with them for a time.
  4. The adventure seems profitable and you need money to search for your lost love.

Ten Things I Saw in the Ninth World, Part 2: Ten More Things I Saw in the Ninth World

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1. A small gem containing an intricate carving of the city of Qi. The carving is maintained by nanites that continually update the carving, using satellites and the datasphere, to reflect any major changes to the city. Only those observing the gem under a microscope can appreciate the level of detail, and might even see alterations as they take place.
 
2. A long metallic serpent that takes over a being's body by replacing its spine with itself. The serpent can elongate or contract to fit as necessary, and extends microscopic tendrils throughout the body to manipulate it.

3. A mechanical golem made of discarded cyphers, somehow infused with life. This is a level 5 creature that does 5 points of damage per strike. In addition, use the chart on page XX to roll up ten cypher abilities for the golem. That's right, TEN. When the golem is defeated, any unused cypher abilities become inert and useless. The golem explodes in 1d10 rounds. Risk-taking, quick-acting characters might be able to dicern a makers mark somewhere in the golem's design.

4. A tiny, shiny, buzzing, whirring, UFO style disc hovers around one of the group's character. It is extremely quick, anticipating and avoiding any attacks by the character it follows. (Other characters might have a chance to attack and destroy it, however.) While the disc flies about, it betrays the character's position, makes just enough noise to disrupt the character's sleep, and proves to be an utter annoyance. The character's dreams are filled with typical UFO abduction scenes, including bright lights, alien greys, an inability to move, various kinds of probes and experiments, etc. After 1d10 days, the disc finally leaves the character alone and flies away with whatever information it may have gained or recorded.
 
5. A mercenary team that specializes in cold weather environments. One is a sentient polar bear who pulls the sled and navigates as well as fights. The other is a skilled glaive, a woman with platinum blonde hair and a patch over her left eye, wielding a large sword. They are brother and sister. (Optionally, at night, he reverts to human form--a large, male glaive with platinum blonde hair--and she becomes a sabre-toothed Siberian tiger.)

6. A vast and expansive sea of quicksand, with a variety of deadly creatures swimming below the surface. An explorer needs a special ship to sail this sea of sand. And yes, there are pirates ...
 
7. A bar called Leave of Absinthe, found in the nastier part of town. Behind the dive, in the back alley is a faintly glowing skeleton. The skeleton exists out of phase with this reality, so anyone who attempts to touch the bones will simply reach right through them. Nobody knows how the bones got there, but they are a local attraction. It's said that sometimes the ghostly bones rise up and steal away unwary carousers. (Backstory: beneath the alley is an artifact that occasionally sputters to life and creates a glowing circular portal. Drunken patrons occasionally investigate, touch or wander into the portal and are transported elsewhere or, less often, rendered out of phase. The skeleton belongs to an out-of-phase patron who came back to the alley looking for the portal, hoping to return to normal, but starved to death before it reappeared.
 
8. Cornelius, a tall bipedal humanoid with the features of a chimpanzee. He spends much of his time drunk, complaining about how things are "all wrong" and mourning some woman named Zira. If the PCs can get him to lay off the sauce and interest him with a problem involving logic or science, Cornelius proves to be quite a capable nano.

9. Rumors of vampires lead to a small group of seven squat medical robots desperately trying to maintain the life of their charge, a lovely raven-haired woman in what appears to be a glass coffin, but is actually a malfunctioning stasis capsule. The robots go out at night and drain other beings of blood and transfuse it to the young woman, maintaining her life until they find a way to awaken her.

10. The Brain Trees of the Fungal Forest. This forest is actually a single living organism. It consists of a mutated fungus that is of sufficient mass and complexity that each individual "tree" mirrors the function of a neuron in a brain. It is a treasure trove of information for desperate adventurers. Adventurers must travel to the center of the forest and ask their question. If the forest knows the answer, it will respond telepathically that it will give the adventurers the information they seek for a price: the sacrifice of a sentient being to the forest. This sacrifice will become another "fruiting body" within the forest and add its knowledge to the whole. The forest is particularly fond of nanos. If the forest does *not* know the answer to the question asked, it will reply honestly, but will also ask the adventurers to return should they learn the answer, and share that answer with the forest so that it, too, can know. It will then owe the adventurers a favor.
 

Finding my religion

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So, that steampunk monk I described before? I wrote up her beliefs for the game she's in, and now I look at the book it seems similar to the Aeon Priesthood's teachings. Possibly an offshoot, or influenced by a shared history...anyway, here it is.-----------------------------Yeti's BeliefsYeti follows a heavily Buddhist-inspired path that is pantheistic - that doesn't believe in a separate anthropomorphic God, but instead that Universe is inherently divine. Yeti refers to this divinity as Intelligence, mostly because she doesn't have better words for it.This Intelligence isn't sapience or self-awareness, it's the quality of things which have a purpose and pattern or design. Things which have been made by sapients will be more 'divine' than things made by accident. However Evolution is a prime example of what she might call Natural Intelligence, or Divinity in Nature.While the Universe is driven by Entropy, Opposition and Attraction, Intelligence can oppose these forces. This means that technology - especially numenera - are sacred, as they are devices which contain divinity and aid intelligent beings in opposing Entropy. The two principles of Tradition and Innovation are about maintaining this move away from Entropy. Like a cog in clockwork, it can only go forwards or hold steady, going backwards is against it's Purpose and a surrender to Entropy.In practice, this means that Yeti really dislikes retracing her steps or giving up on a project, and breaking something which has been made is practically blasphemous. It also means she values all kinds of artifacts from the past, when Intelligence had enormous power and miracles were made.Yeti comes from the Chablon Monastery, a sect dedicated to maintaining and repairing a Great Device. It's pretty big. It doesn't just take up a lot of the mountain, it forms most of the mountain. No one there really understands what it does or what it is for, but such a intricate and grand artifact demands their service. Initiates spend much of the day climbing through the clockwork, oiling chains and polishing gears, and there are a few sections inside where some function has been restored - the people have adapted the engines to tasks such as pumping water, or lifting and lowering platforms. The heat of the steamworks keeps the inside of the Device temperate, explaining why so many locals prefer to live inside. From the outside it mostly looks like a snow-covered mountain range.Death and Afterlife? Yeti doesn't believe in Reincarnation. She does believe in Recycling. Nothing is ever truly destroyed, only rearranged in new patterns.Astrology:Intelligence manifests in Pattern and Purpose, therefore the stately movement of the stars has been long studied as a kind of blueprint for an over-arching plan of reality. The Monastery maintains that there were once 12 'houses' which made up the sky, however aeons ago one of these houses went dark and is now referred to as the Void. More recently though, a new house has appeared. While the remaining eleven still move in a pattern of twelve, the new house moves alternatively in patterns of three, five and seven, and it moves through the space of the other eleven. Centuries after it appeared debate is still fierce over whether this Ghost House is a new Twelfth House or a Thirteenth House.Astrology is used as a teaching tool by the senior monks, although the Monastery does make a few shins through those who wish their fortunes told.Martial Arts:Well, you have the heavy physical labour which requires a fair degree of agility as one clambers through the Device. You have the injunction to improve yourself in all ways in order to be a better servant of the Divine. And you have the saying that a good argument should be tested like steel, to see if it is strong enough to support your theory.Imagine then, a pair of monks facing off across a horizontal cog as it methodically ticks around. A pendulum swings and the two sprint into action, hammering each other with blows and performing the most amazing twists and leaps to avoid being thrown off the cog. One feints to the inside, the other misjudges their block and ends up being suspended by a foot over edge of the gear. There is a sigh from the onlookers as the perpendicular one says "I concede your point."This is usually reserved for when two sides are truly deadlocked, but practice in the art of vigorous debate is encouraged. It emphasises relying upon your own skills and using your environment to best effect. And the teachers find it is a very effective lesson in applied physics.

Inspiration: Contre temps

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Sci-fi blog i09 recently posted a link to a beautiful, short animated film that is very Numenera. The blog's description of the video:

"The short film Contre temps (Against time) is set in a post-apocalyptic city that was long ago covered by rising tides. While exploring the city at low tide, however, a scavenger discovers another soul within the city."

My description:

A jack runs into GM intrusion while hunting for numenera in an ancient coastal city.

Check it out here:

http://io9.com/in-a-gorgeous-flooded-city-a-scavenger-discovers-that-1100908754

So what's your favorite spot in the world so far?

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I've decided that the town of Guran is just too ripe with potential not to love it - the blue baubles and abandoned bauble mines, the mystery of the Rose Plague, the hidden stories behind some of the townsfolk, and the threat of the ravage bear hidden in the heart of the place - I just have to find a way to use this.

How about you? What's the place that most speaks to you in the world information?

Ten Things I Saw in the Ninth World

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1. An illusory shadow show performance of "The 47 Glaives."

2. A jabberwock in a cage. Every evening, a blonde female Jack chops its head off with a unique blade that qualifies as a numenera. Every morning, the jabberwock appears again in its cage, fully restored. This annoys the Jack to no end.

3. An old, disheveled man with long white hair and beard but a bald crown, dressed in tattered clothing, living on the streets. The locals know him as Mumbly Joe. Mumbly Joe is immortal, and remembers the end of the Eighth World. Unfortunately, the memory has driven him insane. If players interact with Mumbly Joe, roll 1d6. Random murmurs may yield fantastic insights (1-2), absolute nonsense (3-4), or both (5-6) at any given point in time.

4. Carriages and rickshaws in a variety of designs, each drawn by a different kind of beast or mechanical construct. The rickshaw drivers never get lost in the city, and only occasionally compete forcefully for fares. Rickshaws are the best and safest way to traverse the city, as they are all operated by the local crime syndicate. Roll 1d10 for a sample type of locomotion: (1) a lizard-like creature similar to an ostrich with useless, vestigial forelegs and iridescent scales; (2) a ferocious red-furred beast with six legs that looks like the offspring of a yak and a rhinoceros; (3) a brass carriage with mechanical chicken legs that fold into and underneath it, like a motorized Baba Yaga's hut; (4) a long-limbed man in matching skullcap and loincloth with freakishly, massively muscled legs and long, splayed, calloused feet. A kick from this man deals damage like a heavy weapon, but is fast as a light weapon; (5) a brightly plumed, very large rooster; (6) a magnificent golden mechanical horse with silver mane and tail. The horse is fully sentient and is its own agent. It has the equivalent of GPS thanks to its connection with the datasphere, and speaks with a metallic, echoing Brooklyn accent, sounding as if reverberating through a tin can; (7) a carriage pulled by a giant, glowing, floating egg in a unique harness. The egg emits a sound like an air-raid siren when in motion. The driver is rather hard-of-hearing, which can lead to some hilarious misunderstandings. The driver will offer the fares earplugs (for a small fee, of course); (8) a flock of very tiny flying creatures with aspects of lizards, hummingbirds, and dragonflies (yes, they can hover as well). They draw a carriage that looks like it is made of spun sugar, but the delicate-looking material is tough as iron; (9) a very large crustacean. The carriage is actually carved out of its massive shell and carried on its back; (10) a pair of giant black rats. They smell awful, and are partial to rancid meat.

5. A powerfully built albino leonine being with glowing red eyes, wearing a scarlet toga, bound with a golden clasp of intricate design and exquisite craft. The lion person has a proposition to offer the right crew of enterprising adventurers ... 

6. A pair of blue-skinned twins giving a remarkable performance involving creative use of gymnastics and telekinesis.

7. In the back room of a shop that particularly caters to Jacks, the owner has a set of ten metallic tubes, like cylindrical ladder rungs, that when activated will remain in whatever spatial position they're placed in, regardless of support or lack thereof--they will simply float, defying gravity and remaining in place as if set in cement until deactivated or destroyed. 

8. A koi-like being as big as your head, swimming/floating through the air in a force bubble generated by a belt the koi is wearing. The force bubble is filled with water. The koi appears to be smoking a pipe filled with a mild chemical intoxicant. When the koi exhales whatever chemical he's imbibing, tiny colored bubbles float through the water and out of the force field membrane, to be blown away on the wind. If one of the bubbles pops against a character's bare skin, it acts as a mild euphoric hallucinogen (level 2 difficulty vs. Might defense). 

9. A woman whose head appears to be a hive of buzzing bees, with insects constantly entering and exiting her orifices. She speaks with the buzzing tone you'd expect. The bees are actually her thoughts given form; if you swat one, she'll forever forget whatever memory or information it contained. An assault upon her person leads her to release a large swarm of bees through her mouth. These bees will attempt to sting the assailant to death and, if successful, lay eggs in the assailant's head that will hatch in 1d6 hours, eat the corpse's brain matter, and form a new colony consciousness that will reanimate the body. Anyone who treats the woman kindly will receive a jar of delicious honey.

10. What appears to be a plucked peacock strutting about. The peacock is sentient, and can communicate by a mechanical box it wears around its throat. If players come into contact with the peacock, they may realize that it is festooned with lush invisible plumage.

Thoughts? 

Getting Started

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Well, after a weekend of devouring the book, I'm setting up for the first game (hopefully) Wed. night. Swinging by the FLGS on an airport run to grab some figs and get them painted up for it. The Reaper Pathfinder figs have some funky ones that fit in nicely to the theme of the game. I'll post characters and figs when they're done.

Trying my hand at custom descriptors and foci

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One of the reads in the forum asked us to come up with characters before the official release, so without knowing what descriptors were available, I came up with "A creative Glaive who can manipulate friction". Sadly, neither Creative or Manipulates Friction exists in the core book, so I figured I'd have a go at making my own ones up. At the moment they are just brain farts that haven't been play tested, so kinda these 'for fun' rather than serious attempts at making something balanced. So far, here is what I've come up with for the descriptor.

Descriptor: Creative

You're an inventor, a dreamer, a problem solver. Whether though supernatural means or just a quirk of your brain, you have a knack for finding creative solutions to problems and finding inspiration for creativity in all things. Most likely, you're an artist, an inventor or musician and others marvel at your creative works and unconventional solutions to problems. You're creative and intuitive, not necessarily smarter or more personable than other people.

Intuitive: +2 to your Intellect Edge.
Skill: You’re trained in all tasks involving puzzles or lateral thinking.
Skill: You’re trained in one performance and one crafting task.
Inability: You get bored easily. Whenever you have to be still, quiet or otherwise inactive for any length of time, difficulties for all tasks are increased by one step.
Inability: With so many creative thoughts bouncing around in your head, you've never been good at retaining knowledge or memorising facts, the difficulty of lore and knowledge tasks are increased by one step.
Additional Equipment: You need constant stimulation and inspiration and have 2 additional oddities to play with and contemplate.
Initial Link to the Starting Adventure: From the following list of options, choose how you became involved in the first
adventure.

  1. You solved a difficult puzzle for one of the other PCs and they recruited you
  2. Your natural curiosity made you instigate the whole thing and you recruited the others.
  3. You find one of the other PCs fascinating and inspiring, like a muse so now you follow them around and help them when you can.
  4. There is a reward  involved and you need the money to fuel your next creative endeavor.

Welcome to the Ninth World Hub!

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Welcome to the Ninth World Hub everyone!I feel like this is like a second grand opening, what with the release of the PDF this week.To the influx of new members, welcome and we hope you meet new friends and share in the joy of Numenera with us.We have a vast member base that spans the world. Check out the groups that have been formed to help folks from different regions connect. We hope to be the premiere place for you make connections for online games.I have two recommendations for running online games-For live games, Google Hangouts with the Roll20 add-in works great and is free.For play by post games, I recommend RPOL.net. I've already gotten Numenera added as a game system, all set for you new GMs to host your games.And lastly, may I humbly recommend "Transmissions from the Ninth World" podcast (TF9W.com). For the time since the game was announced through now, we on the podcast have sought to share what we know about the game and host many Numenera luminaries, especially its creator, Monte Cook himself.Thanks again for joining us and don't hesitate to ask me for any help with using the site or any questions about Numenera.P.S. we call the site "the Hub" and its members "Ninth Worlders".

Party Shot

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Here is Kate's Final Party Design!

They are on a Hover Craft that is being 'controlled' by the blue octopus looking figure [Bobble is an alien nano who wields gravity itself]. To his left is a Doctor Nano who Controls Time and on the right is Chop Chop a mystic glaive who practices the culinary arts.

The pilot is a Jedi Jack who navigates with the stars and co-piloting is officer McFriendly, a Policeman Jack who can read minds.

Looks like a fun group of explorers!