Starting Weapons, Form vs Function.

Bear with me, this might be a bit of a ramble. :)

I know that combat isn't really the main emphasis in Numenera, but it struck me that the array of starting weapons are somewhat...well...generic, for such a weird and vibrant setting. I know the real magic (or science if you prefer) is in cyphers, artefacts and the like and discovering same. I'm not advocating equipping your players with ray guns or nanotech grenades (unless you want to!) or changing the damage ratings of the weapon types but simply adding a bit of spice or personalisation.

Let's take the humble Bow. I'm fairly sure one of my players is likely to have Works the Back Alleys as their Foci, as she's always That Player who plays the thief and steals whatever she can. Now, lugging around a bow and quiver might be a bit awkward if you're trying to sneak about. So perhaps her bow was specifically crafted for her by an admirer or a grateful client and is actually collapsible. Not collapsible in a normal mundane fashion, perhaps it was constructed with a small dimensional aspect, so that the arms retract, seemingly impossibly, into an extra-dimensional space making the weapon a lot easier to carry around and store. Would need a little bit of Rule of Cool to explain how the string detaches and re-attaches but let's gloss that over for now. :)

So now the player has something cool. It's an item that perhaps has a link to their past and now is distinguished from a 'regular' bow, to show the player is a little apart from other archers. Not to mention it could make a cool GM Intrusion as the arms retract into the Bows handle just as the player attempts a vitally important shot. Or perhaps she is crawling through a tight space and suddenly the arms extrude outwards, pinning her in place.

Hopefully some food for thought. Cheers.



  • edited June 2015
    I've always told my players that as long as it does the proper damage and has the proper restrictions, they can tell me it's whatever they like. OK, your knife is actually made of visitant glass, has a blade on each end of the handle, curved edges, and it shines. No problem as long as it does 2 damage. Next!

    For a harder example, someone changed the focus from arrows to bullets without a problem. It's not like there aren't guns in the setting anyway.

    Your suggestions to tie those weapons into the story are cool. It's also true that the equipment section could be a bit more fleshed out, especially if one compares it with the rest of the writing.
  • If one of my players wanted some sort of exotic ranged weapon I'd happily let them as the damage categories are so broad. I just got the impression that mass production firearms, at least conventional ones, weren't really a feature in the Ninth World with energy weapons usually being reserved for Numenera Artefacts or Cyphers. That said the consideration is largely one of theme over mechanics, so if someone wanted a rifle that fired flesh seeking bees or the like I'd be all over it. :)

    With only three grades of weapon damage I guess they were limited as to what to use as examples without repeating themselves. I just thought having seen all the cool artwork, I think I'd be a little disappointed if my character was handed a plain sword or a warhammer and thought of how those items could be jazzed up a little. Obviously without deviating too far from the initial intent and still giving the players something to strive for in looking for new and weird items.

    Still learning all the nuances of the setting right now. Cheers for the comments.
  • I'm with moranar on this. I just sort of assumed that the equipment listings were brief because to do otherwise would be exhaustive and against the trimmed down mechanics of the rule set. Your mace is a thin synth rod that increases in density as it increases in momentum so that it hits with the force of a much larger rod of steel with a ball on the end? Okay, cool, perfect, thanks for not being boring.

    Ultimately it will either be thrown, projected, or swung...light, medium, or heavy. That's all I've ever really needed from a weapons list. Me and my players prefer to do the rest ourselves anyway.
  • edited June 2015
    In a roundabout way that's kind of my point. My players are very used to 'well here's a sword' or 'here's a +1 sword' so actually looking at their starting equipment as something weird, wacky and unique to the setting is something of a new concept to player and GM alike. In previous games it was less about what the sword was and more of what number it added to your attack roll. Old (bad?) habits from other systems I guess.

    I was just thinking about ways to distance them from previous RPG settings before they even finish making their characters and having non standard 'standard' weapons seemed one easy way to do it.

    Clearly I'm a bit behind the curve in this regard, but I'm new to the setting and GMing as a whole. :)

    I might have contradicted myself somewhere in there, never mind. O_o :)
  • Yea I use it as a guide, make the weapon up you want lets discuss it and then find a like weapon in the list. You want a tube that shoots bolts using compressed air power..ok cool use the crossbow stats. You want a piece of alien shard that is sharp as a razor mounted on pole sounds like it could either be a spear or maybe a greataxe. I tell them do not take a broadsword....make it awesome.

    I think the biggest thing is people want everything stated out for them, a list of 1000 weapons all basically the same but with different entries. I personally like the way the latest edition of Gamma World did it, they just had categories, is it a heavy or light, one handed or two, range or melee? So basically the parking meter that I wielded was a two handed heavy melee weapon (dropped change on a crit :)). Forced people to be more creative, I treat Numenera the same way.
  • This reminds me of an idea I'd had a while ago, but never got around to using.  Basically a way to make a back-carried sheath for a longsword work - have the sheath basically open up when you grabbed the sword's hilt and collapse in on itself for storage when not needed.  When sheathing the sword, you'd place the blade against the open sheath which would wrap around that part of the sword and the you'd just let the blade drop with the sheath extending to hold the whole blade.

    Just visualised it as being made up of all these interlocking metal plates that were folding together in impossible ways.
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