Hey guys, running a game at a convention, any ideas?

Here in mid march I have signed up to run a game of Numenera to introduce people to the system since I love Numenera and the Strange. any good ideas on how to parcel out my time? I have 2 hours. Basically I want to hit the highlights of the system and try to expose as many as I can to this wonderful game system. Any help is appreciated since I myself have just really started running the game. (Been a DM for 16 years now but as you know Numenera is a much different beast).

I've run a 13th age game and for the first hour it was building characters, showing how the system ran etc etc. Then the second hour was a few encounters to highlight the character they have built. I feel the same thing could be done with Numenera.


  • If you only have a couple hours, I'd recommend pre-building characters and letting players pick from them rather than having them create their own. As for the adventure, Monte Cook games has released a couple pre-generated adventures that might work pretty well. I think Vortex was the GenCon adventure for the year that Numenera was released, and Into the Violet Vale was the GenCon adventure for last year. If you'd rather run your own adventure, I'd say check out the Numenera Bestiary. Each of the creatures has a little adventure hook that comes with it, so you could easily put together a short and simple adventure that revolves around the players encountering one of them.
  • That's a pretty good idea with the Bestiary. I do have all the books other than the 9th world guide book which is actually on it's way.
  • Do you have anyway I can get those Gencon adventures. Clearly running something already made would be much better than trying to make something myself especially since I am still new with this particular game world. I have been ping ponging ideas in my head for the past week or so and it's hard for me to nail down anything because the book pushes "weird" pretty hard which is hard to do since adventure comes from things you relate with.

    The big draw for me and Numenera is the fantasy part of the Science Fantasy. It melds them so well and makes things feel familiar, but it also pushed the weird and strange aspect, which is hard for me to work with just because it work has a pretty vague yet specific feel. Which is strange to say.
  • Vortex and Into the Violet Vale are both available at Monte Cook Games and at DriveThruRPG as downloadable PDFs.

    In terms of "the weird", it is tough at first to figure out how to emphasize it without going so crazy that the players lose their suspension of disbelief. I can recommend two things here:

    1. Don't worry about detailing the weird too much. Present strange things from past worlds with no explanation. My players love to speculate about what a certain device might have been used for originally, or about who created a specific ancient ruin, and I'll just nod and say "Sure, that's possible" even though I have no idea about the "truth" of the matter.

    2. Make the weird stuff commonplace for NPCs. Your players may find it strange that an entire town is built on top of the petrified remains of an ancient, organic spacecraft, but the people who live there don't know anything else, so to them it's completely normal. A lot of times this contrast can produce "the weird" all by itself. Players will be familiar with a fantasy setting, so dropping in science fiction elements and having the NPCs consider them the norm can really create a sense of the weird without it getting too weird.

    Hope this helps, and good luck at the convention.
  • jweags, is righty. Keep it simple, keep it weird.
    Pregens - and all the way and give them a reason to be together.

    The bestiary is a great idea. Or even the Technology book. Pick something for them to focus on and oooo/awe about.
    Teach them the rules(if you need too), keep it as fast moving, exciting and simple as possible. That's alot of the selling points of the game.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!
  • Are there pregens floating around? Many companies (13th age, Shadow Run, D&D, Pathfinder) have them available. Is there somewhere here that has some?
  • Pre-gen characters? I know that some are included with the Into the Violet Vale adventure. I believe that some are also included with the Vortex adventure as well.
  • There's also 6 nice pregen included in Weird Discoveries, which has several adventures that could also be tweaked to run in a convention time block. I'm personally running "The Spider Knight" next month at a convention
  • I would go with using pre-gens, but I’d do them myself. I think that one of the joys of Numenera is seeing what combinations come out and working with them. I use an Excel random generator (the Mookmaker) that I wrote that generates NPC’s and Mooks and PC ideas. Then I’d tailor a run round what the PC’s are.

    OK, try this: - Set up for four PC’s.
    1. A Mechanical Jack who Commands Mental Powers
    * Face hidden by hood
    * Was a circus curiosity before escaping.

    2. A Strong Glaive who Controls Beasts
    * Ritual tattoos on face
    * A constable, well-liked by the people

    3. A Clever Nano who Focuses Mind over Matter
    * A fine tracery of wire under their skin
    * Family owns a large vineyard

    4. A Rugged Glaive who Wields Two Weapons at Once
    * Smells of drugs
    * A deserter from the army

    Create the PC’s as per the rules , but they do not get any starting cyphers (sb.) If they escape from the arena and the tunnels then they can acquire some.

    Start in cages in the slave pits beneath the city of Rarmon in the Pytharon Empire. The PC’s have to fight in the arena against Margr and Broken Hounds. To escape, they can jump into the pit in the centre of the arena; this leads to the Labyrinth from which no-one escapes.

    Have fun with the arena combat; the pit opens on the sixth round

    PC 1: Keeps face hidden- what’s wrong with it?
    *Why did he ESCAPE from the circus? Is he being hunted?

    PC 2: So, why is he fighting in the area?
    *Maybe his boss doesn’t like him and set him up

    PC 3: Family are wealthy.
    * Is he on a Grand Tour of the Steadfast?
    * Is he enhanced in some way?

    PC 4: A good fighter unless he has been eating Bentlam
    *Addicted to Bentlam (medium dependency drug) – Burning paper smell)
    * Army deserted – warrant out for his arrest.

    They start in the arena and so have no cyphers or artefacts. They do have their weapons and armour.

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