Tier 0 characters

I want to run a campaign in which the characters will be from a tribe that considers the numenera to be heretic. Of course, these characters are "special" and feel an affinity and curiosity about such things that will inevitably lead to them quickly becoming exiles and going on many merry adventures out in the grander weird world...

But in the meantime, I'd like them to start as essentially "Tier 0" characters. I am thinking that this means they a 0 cypher limit globally which is easy enough (the first time they pick up a cypher, they'll realize their limit isn't 0 after all!).  But I'm a bit stuck on how to handle other aspects of character creation, such as choosing abilities that they have no right to know about. Nanos, of course, will seem all but useless if I don't allow them to use their powers. I guess you could compare this to some sort of early X-Men scenario, where mutants have latent powers, or if they know of their powers, also realize they have to conceal them.

To be perfectly clear, I imagine this "Tier 0" status will last less than half a session, perhaps arbitrarily ended following a set-piece interaction I have yet to construct, and that they will very rapidly become "normal" Numenera characters. So I'm not SUPER worried about breaking the game here, but I am worried about doing anything that will make the very first session un-fun! 



  • I haven't thought this through in great detail - just some thoughts.
    Let them create the characters as they play. Don't give them types, descriptors or focus Just drop them into a situation, play it out and see how they react. Assign abilities etc. during that first session..
    Player A wants to attack the murden. He could be a Glaive.
    Player B wants to know if there is any way to block the 'mental static." They could be nano material
    Player C examines everything to see what knowledge it contains. They could be a Glint.
    Player D is looking for ways to make money and help the group survive. They could be a Jack.

    Player A attacks something else. You could suggest they Bash it; thus giving them a fighting move
    Player B touches something that is absorbed into their eyeball; giving them the Scan esotery

  • I know there are mechanisms in Fate and other narrative games like that which provide for those sorts of work-in-progress character generation. I think I've settled on something in-between which splits character generation up for the new starting characters. I'll have them pick types and descriptors, but not yet foci or abilities (moves, tricks, esotaries).

    In part, the inspiration for this campaign is to more gradually "bring in the weird" to players who are 100% new to the setting, and several of which entirely new to roleplaying games. So breaking up character generation into a handful of chapters, and allowing them to see some of the systems in use in between, hopefully acts as a sort of tutorial.

    I do still have some concerns about it being a bit boring... especially for nanos or anyone without any combat abilities, but if that's the case then I'll just end up running an audible during the session and greatly abbreviating several of those encounters. I'll also try to think up a few more ways to work in some of your suggestions above, about uncovering latent abilities. Ideally, this starts to feel necessary to the characters in order to rise to the level of the challenge! 
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