Rules Clarification Thread

I had a few questions when reading through the rules, and I'm seeing disparate discussion threads opening up for different issues, so maybe it'd be useful to have all rules questions/clarifications in one place?  That's the purpose of this thread.

Rules: reply to the main topic for each rules question.  Reply to each question directly to respond to that question.


  • That makes much more sense to me as well and I was going to run it that way not only from a logic point of view but also to make the game move faster.  Having to roll each time you want to use a cypher and then having it not work a bunch of the time is just not any fun and slows down the entire thing.
  • Is the inability for the Clever descriptors correct? "Inability: You were never good at studying or retaining trivial knowledge. The difficulty of any task involving lore, knowledge, or understanding is increased by one step." 
  • Regarding skills: are they always associated with a stat or do you get to choose which stat you use them with depending on your approach? For example, Intimidation could be rolled using Might or using Intellect, depending on if you want to scare your opponent with muscle alone, or threatening to go public with some dirt you have on him.

    The reason I'm asking is that in the official character sheet, each stat seems to have five skills associated with it, but I haven't found the reason why in the core rulebook.
  • Seems correct to me.  I think the focus of the descriptor is so you can have an Intelligence focused character that is maybe more charismatic, or with lots of common sense, but perhaps not that "book-smart" or educated.

    Or did i misread your concern?
  • Well bear in mind there aren't actually any skills in the game.  You can try anything you want.  You can become trained in or specialized in any "skill" you want, but those 5 per stat are not a hard list, just suggestions.

    The main thing you want to do is describe what you're trying to do in a narrative way, and that description determines what stat you're using as the basis for your roll.  If you're going to intimidate your opponent by subtly threatening his family or some other emotional level, that would be more of an intellect roll.  If you're going to attempt to intimidate someone through more direct threats and using body language and size, that's more of a Might roll.  If you become "trained" in Intimidatation, then the benefits of that training would apply to either roll regardless of what stat you're using.  Does that make sense?  At least I don't plan to limit my players to one specific skill-stat combo.  If they're creative and come up with a viable and logical way to use Speed to intimidate a guard, I'm not going to stop them.

    I think the character sheet list 5 areas for skill just to have a nice list for each, but I doubt anyone's going to use all 15 of those unless they go for an extreme jack of all trades being specialized in numerous things.
  • As an addendum to what Muton said, since every single d20 roll is based on the same scale, you can feasibly become trained or specialized in anything that requires a roll. Attack, defense, esoteries, skills, initiative -- all those and more that I'm sure I'm not thinking of are possibilities.
  • As far as I read in the text: using a cypher when you know what it does, is usually a level 1 or 2 Intellect task. Using a cypher that you nothing about is a task with a level equal to the cypher. Identifying a cypher also has a task level equal to the cypher's level I think.

    I think that you also need the level when you ask an NPC what it does. If the NPC's knowledge about cyphers is higher than the cyper's level, he can tell you (but that's my interpretation from how things work for NPCs).

    Now, if you want to craft with cyphers, remember that you material from each level below in order to complete an item of a higher level. So here the level is also important.

    Next, consider that the cypher levels also indicate complexity. A level 6 eagleseye probably is harder to understand than a level 1 eagleseye. Compare this to a cypher that is able to replicate a printed page. This can be level 1 or 2 (probably something close to what Gutenberg used as printing press) or it could be level 4 or 5 and be a modern scanner with a combined printer.
  • I was going to call out that the book says that you can't train in attacking and defense, but when I tried to find where it said that I found I was wrong.  You can train in attack or defense, but it seems to be a more focused training, like you can become trained with "medium bashing weapons", and therefore your attacks with all weapons are normal but with a medium sized bashing weapon the target is reduced by one step.  

    However when searching for "trained", the book calls out a plethora of different ideas.  For example:

    you can become trained in "low light spotting", allowing you to reduce the penalties that apply for poor light conditions (p.96, illumination)

    You can become trained in riding or sailing which reduces penalties for various things such as mounted combat or tough weather conditions (P.97)

    There's a whole list of ideas of what skills people could become trained in on page 25.

    Really, all trained does is give you a broad set of knowledge under the category of what you describe, and if you find some way to apply that knowledge to a given task then the skill should apply.  Maybe you're not trained in bluffing, but you are trained in Geology and you're trying to bluff your way past the guards to the mine, then your Geology training should come in handy for that bluffing and provide a bonus if you roleplay your bluff to incorporate that knowledge and the place being a mine, the guards would more apt to believe you.
  • On page 25 in the Skills boxed paragraph it reads "Only skills gained through character type abilities, such as the glaive's fighting moves focus abilities, or other rare instances allow you to become skilled with attack or defense tasks."

    I was part of a playtest group and we often used 4 XP to become trained or skilled in "medium bladed weapons" or the like above and beyond the glaive Skill with Attacks ability.  Does this seem contradictory to the rules as written?  It seems similar to the example on page 24 of being able to be trained in the ability to "make an Intellect roll to blast an enemy with mental force."

    Of course, Shanna's input earlier in this thread is the final word, i.e. do what makes sense within your group of players.
  • Can you point to where in the text that says that?  I can't seem to find specific clarification on it myself.

    I hear what you're saying about the level, and logically that could make sense, that a higher level one is more complex, so it requires something more to activate and/or know about it.  But from another perspective it doesn't make sense.  A detonation cypher increases in damage per level, so arguably it gets better per level.  However one that has no scaling ability like Eagle Eyes only gets more difficult per level, which means that it has less value as it goes up in level.  I'm hung up on the inconsistency.

    Personally I will probably include rules that a cypher is more complex to understand the higher the level, but I'll probably house rule that will modify the ability of any cypher to include a scaling ability.
  • On page 280 it spells some of this out.  Identifying a cypher is a Intellect task of difficulty 1 or 2.  Using an identified cypher is automatically successful.

    Using an non-identified cypher is an Intellect task with difficulty equal to the cypher's level, e.g. you flub your initial identification roll but really want to use the odd looking gizmo you just found; now which button do you push?  Which wires do you cross?

    I think some of the cyphers have levels for the "what if" moments.  If I need to fix a cypher, break a cypher, or resist a cypher, I might need to know the level.  Not sure it's truly inconsistent, just serves a a quick point of reference for the GM to use regardless of the context.
  • Thanks.  That page says identifying a cypher is an Intellect Task of 1 or 2, but using it once identified is automatic.  Using it when not identified is a task equal to the cypher's level.

    Ok, I'm good on cyphers I think; thanks for the clarification.
  • No need for weapons (PG p. 18) - just to clarify, a glaive fighting unarmed with this fighting move still treats his fists as light for the purpose of hitting more accurately (1 step lower) but deals damage as a Medium weapon (4), correct?
  • well page 29 on the corebook (1-tier glaives) says:

    No Need for Weapons: When you make an unarmed attack (such as a punch or kick), it counts as a medium weapon instead of a light weapon. Enabler.

    It doesn't say it counts as medium only for damage it basically says that in general his unarmed attacks are now medium weapons, so I think that as medium weapons they no longer get the light weapon benefit of reducing the difficulty on 1 step
  • You should also consider that chypers, like any other numenera, are thought to be unique, unrepeatable.
    All Eagle Eyes cypher should be different (could be a spyglass-like device, contact lens, special eye drops and so on).
    So it is perfectly possible to have two on them equal (effects), but very different in terms of complexity and use.

    Setting an item's level, when that does not change its effects, IMHO it's a mere game parameter, a useful tool for the GM to easily decide how difficult it is to understand and use that numenera.
  • I would go with damage as a Medium, hitting as Light. Should be more fun that way for the glaive. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
  • I think this is an homage to Cugel the Clever from the Dying Earth books. He was more cunning than clever, in real terms, and the inability fits with that.
  • Regarding PC controlled NPC (e.g., Beasts). If I have the focus "Controls Beasts" and have a level 2 creature with a target number of 6, has 6 health and does 2 damage. How do I, as a player, make rolls for the creature if it is attacking an NPC?
  • you just roll as normal, only thing is controlled NPCs can't put effort into tasks

    its in page 98 in the corebook, under Special Situation: Combat Between NPCs
  • Regarding multiple uses of Effort (pg. 22): if for example you apply 1 level for the attack and 1 level for damage, would you use a cost of 5 (3+2) or 6 (3+3)? 

    The manual only accounts for multiple levels of Effort on a single task, but for "multiple aspects of a single action" this is not clear.
  • Correct, since damage is not a task in itself but a consequence.
  • Then I guess you mean that 5 would be the correct cost in this case.

    Thanks for the answer!
  • 5 yes. Like I said, It's a pleasure to finally discuss the game, so you're more than welcome.
  • Tricky, I'm not sure I'd rule the same way. The issue is that the Tier 1 fighting move "Thrust" gets you 1 additional damage for 1 Might point*. With your interpretation, a glaive with "No Need for Weapons" effectively gets 2 damage for free. If the player in question is the only glaive at the table, it probably doesn't matter.

    *Yes, glaive has Edge of 1, but he pays that point as soon as he also applies Effort.
  • Sorry if this has been asked before, but I can not find a concrete example (and that is how I learn stuff), and I am so entrenched in the Pathfinder system that I am confused.

    Lets say that Larry (glaive), Curly (jack) and Shemp (nano) (tier 1) are walking down a path in the open plains. From behind some rocks, Eanie, Meanie, Miine and Moe (bandits 2) jump up and demand "money or life" and Larry says, "your life, come and lose it".

    Initiative is rolled, and all the bandits go first. Eanie and Meanie run up to Larry and since it is short distance they also attack which means that Larry makes two ????? defense rolls. Miine runs to Curly, Moe runs to Shemp and since it is intermediate distance that is all they can do.

    Larry, Curly and Shemp decide to melee attack the bandits so they make attack rolls.

    Forget Effort, Assets, etc. just raw rolls without additions/subtractions.

    Question 1. What kind of rolls does Larry make when the first two bandits attack him, and what is the target number? (I think speed defense, and 5s or less hits him)

    Question 2. What is the target number that the guys have to roll to hit the bandits with their weapons? (I think Might roll, and 6 or higher hits).

    Right? and thanks,

    -- david
  • You are spot on.  The bandits at Level 2 have target numbers of 6.  For every interaction with the PC's.

    Larry rolls defense rolls, possibly using Effort from his Speed pool.  His target number is 6.  6 and greater, he dodges.  And yep, it's two separate rolls.

    The attack rolls by the party are the same, target numbers are 6.  These can be adjusted using either Speed or Might Effort from the respective pools.
  • The numbers are right, but your terminology is a bit off. You can move an immediate (not intermediate) distance and attack; or you can move a short distance and not attack; or you can try to move a long distance, but you need to make a roll.
  • Thanks guys. I *thought* that was going on, but I really appreciate the confirmation.
  • Does a Nano treat attacks using heavy weapons as one or two steps higher?

    Practiced with light weapons under Nano, says increase by 2 steps. In Equipment is says lack of experience is only 1 step.

    Follow up question, is there any way to learn to use bigger weapons?
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