Wild card vs GM intrusion

I'm new to numenera, though not new to GMing. I'm reading through the core book and am a little confused by the subtlty of the difference between an npc with a "wild card" and using a GM intrusion.

As described, I'm not sure I see the advantage of using an intrusion if you could just as easily design an npc with a wild card to be named later. Then when he's "in a corner" just declare the wild card to be the exact thing he needs.



  • GMI are used to make things more "interesting" for the PC's, but reward them with XP. Giving an NPC a Wild Card effect is not the same; it is making that NPC memorable/different. It doesn't need to have to be the thing that saves them. For example; I have a merchant in Mulen that can split into multiple copies of himself; allowing him to deal with several customers at the same time. This makes him memorable; but there are no hard and fast Game rules for this.
     If a PC decided to attack him, then as an intrusion, I could say that the one attacked wasn't the 'real' one; allowing the real merchant to escape, summon guards, sound an alarm, use a cypher or artefact; or that the copy was in front of one of the PC's allies; who gets hit instead.
  • It sounds like it's more a difference of intent, which makes sense in this type of system. Thanks.
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