Some very basic questions (I know)

edited February 2016 in Rules and General Q&A
Hi, lads.

I recently purchased the Numenera Corebook and some additional material and have some basic questions that I'd like you to answer should you be so kind. Forgive if they're too naive for you. Here I go:

1. Let's suppose I play with a glaive, 2nd tier. In a combat... can I use a level of effort to attack and another to defend?
2. If I decide to spend Might points (effort) to increase the damage, do I lose them whether my attacking roll is successful or not? I have to state my intention of using effort before rolling, don't I?
3. If I apply one level of Effort to decrease the enemy's target number and another to cause more damage, must the points come from the same pool (Might, likely)?
4. If a level 3 NPC tries to climb a wall and the GM sets the difficulty at 4, does this mean that the NPC cannot do it on his/her own? Any rolls needed?

If you can find some time to help me, I'd be most grateful. Thanks.


  • Here are my answers based on how I ran my campaign. Some of this might be my own house rules.
    1. You can use effort on both attacking and defending, since they're separate actions. However, if you were attacking you could only use effort to modify the difficulty to hit or the damage inflicted. Not both.
    2. I had my players state their intentions before rolling, but only cost the pool points if they connected. That way they couldn't apply effort and decide after the roll how much of it to use or where to allot it.
    3. See 1. for this. I wouldn't allow that split.
    4. In theory the NPC would fail on her/his own. No rolling required. I would suggest it's made clear that the players have to help. For NPC's travelling with the party I would occasionally have someone roll for the NPC. My players love to roll and I figured it would let the NPC act like another member of the party, but I know this is outside the intensions of the system. Maybe think of having the NPC use assets like climbing spikes, rope, and a climbing hammer. That kit would lower the difficulty by one. Equipment is something that was often overlooked by my players but it can really help when you don't have a cypher to fill that need.

    Hope these help.
  • Hi, trumpcard21. First of all, thank you for your quick and kind answer.

    Ok to 2 and 4, but 1 and 3 still remain unclear to me.
    I remember reading the rules and assuming that every player had just one action per turn. Am I mistaken? I thought of the 'defend' action as an extra and automatic defense roll rather than a proper action. In such a case, I coudn't use effort twice, could I? I hope you'll understand what I mean...
    By the way, according to you, would you use your Edge twice should you apply effort to both attack and defense?
  • Hmm. See the Core rules top of page 22. If your Effort is 2+ you can apply it to multiple aspects of the same action, but the points come out of the same pool. You can apply Effort to the attack roll and to increase the damage.
    For example
    My glaive (Effort 2, Might Edge 1) is in combat with a jiraskar (7(21))! The sensible option would be to run away, but let’s say I decide to fight. I win initiative and attack (my Action). I apply one level of Effort to the attack and 1 level to damage (using Might). The attack costs me 2 Might (3-1 Edge). I need to roll 18+ to hit; I fail and do no damage, therefore I don’t spend the Might for the damage. If I had hit then I would have spent an extra 2 Might (this was all part of one Attack action and so you only apply the Might Edge once) and done + 3 damage.
    Now the jiraskar attacks me. I use two levels of Effort (from Speed) to dodge the attack (costing 5 Speed); it will hit me on (5 x 3 = 15+) and will do 10 Might if it hits me. Ouch! Maybe running away is the best option.
  • edited February 2016
    1. Yes, you can apply a level of effort on each. You are attacking on your own turn. You are defending on the attacker's turn.

    2. Yes, most GMs will require you to state you are spending effort prior to rolling.

    Yes, you lose those points regardless of whether you hit. Think of it in real life terms. If you swing extra hard to hit someone a bit harder, you don't get back that extra exerted effort if you fail to connect. Spent points are lost regardless of the outcome, unless you roll a natural 20. A 20 restores all of your spent effort, along with giving you a Major Effect.

    3. You can only spend effort once per turn, so you'd have to choose between making it easier to hit and increasing damage. There are abilities that allow you to use points from multiple pools, but you will never be able to spend effort more than once per turn.

    4. This is entirely up to the GM. Comparing NPC levels to task difficulty levels is just one way in which the GM might handle such a situation. More often than not, the NPC succeeds or fails based upon narrative need.

    See page 98 regarding the adjudication of situations that involve NPCs only, PC vs PC, and other special circumstances.
  • Sorry, but Page 22 and the associated example make it quite clear that you can spend Effort on increasing damage and the chance to hit both in he same turn providing your Effort is 2+
  • Edit: Sorry - had a brainstorm in my example. The points spent by using Effort are allocated before you roll, this includes the damage. Therefore, I would spend 4 Might regardless of whether I hit or not.
  • Thank you, guys! Your comments are not only useful but enlightening!
  • Sorry, but Page 22 and the associated example make it quite clear that you can spend Effort on increasing damage and the chance to hit both in he same turn providing your Effort is 2+

    True. This is how we play it, too. I'm not really sure what I was thinking on point three. I can only assume I was distracted while typing that one.

    One of greatest benefits of forums is that one member can catch the foolishness of another. Thanks. :)
  • No problem, jackoflegend. I thank you for your answer all the same.
  • Jackof legend - It was your post that made me realise that my example was wrong about spending the Might. Of course it makes perfect sense: - "I'm going to use my full strength to hit him - oh, I missed. OK, I won't hit him so hard then"!!. Doh!

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