Over powered Tier 1 Character?

I will start off by saying I am not a fan of Min-Maxing, but I wanted to share our experience with the new character options.

I picked up the Character Options book last week, and I gotta say it is EPIC, and the new options make for an even more awesome experience.

That said, I have a new player who decided to play a Diruk, the new Visitant race. They are made of rocks and crystals, and are lumbering badasses.

He decided to take Glaive as his type, picking up the No Need For Weapons ability. He also grabbed the new "Needs No Weapons" Foci. 

So yeah, his unarmed attacks are Medium, and since he has Needs no Weapon, they get an additional +2, for a total of 6 damage.

Because Diruk cannot benefit from armor and get a natural bonus, combined with the armor bonus from Needs No Weapon (Flesh of Stone), his armor is 4.

A little ridiculous if you ask me, but Numenera is supposed to be ridiculous.

I'm allowing him to play the character, since he spent the time (as a new player, and new roleplayer at that) to look through all the books and come up with a pretty fricken sweet character.

What are your guys opinion of this build?

Have you found any new builds that are as epic as this?


  • I wouldn't worry about it.  Combat is a very small part of the game.  I've both played and run adventures where there was little to no combat.  Personally, I prefer to run more well-rounded characters that have something to contribute in almost any situation.  A character like the one above IS very powerful in combat, but isn't going to have as many abilities to bring to bear in all the other facets of the game (social interactions, exploring, solving mysteries, understanding the numenera).
  • I had noticed this was likely going to happen when I looked at the books. Or the Feats of Strength Focus which has similar things for stacking damage output.

    As Lex said, combat isn't the primary focus unless you want it to be.

    There are also plenty of situations where being a massive stone monk could be a liability:
    1) moving over soft/unstable ground that your immense weight could shift
    2) near any water or boats
    3) accidentally being misunderstood due to your inability to emote clearly
    4) Fighting a creature made out of a material stronger than your own stone hands. (I would use this rarely but it could be an interesting GMI).
    5) taking ambient damage from whatever you strike since you MUST touch it. Spikes, acid, heat/cold, mutations, anything diseased. These will cause problems unless you take precautions to protect your punchy-bits from direct contact on your massive, stone, non-human-shaped hands.

    Also be aware that while his hands are medium weapons and do an extra 2 damage, that is essentially a Glaive wielding a Large weapon. I've got a player in my game with 3 armor at level 1. It's great that he can take that beating but I've had times where he's been severely limited in combat due to his focus and the environment (avoiding Vortex spoilers here).

    Make his strengths a weakness and his weakness' a strength. Make him feel that his race made an impact on the game. You'll figure out a way to make him question his choice at times and there will be days where he will be ecstatic about his decision. That will help him as a roleplayer and hopefully drive home the point that no matter how you build and min/max, there will be times your forethought will fail you and you'll need to just roll with it. 
  • Take Morgan's advice.

    Also, don't let him find out that he can use his unarmed attacks as light weapons for 4 damage at -1 DL!
  • I don't find that character so overpowered. He'll dominate in combat, sure, but unless he can draw all the aggro himself, there'll be plenty of bad guys left to fight the other PCs and make 'em sweat.

    Personally, the most overpowered Tier 1 ability that we've found is from the Leads focus! The ability to give advice and instantly make someone trained (or specialized!) is amazingly versatile and potent. In our group, our leader (natch!) is a Charming Jack who Leads with Int Edge 1 . . . and he never does anything himself! He just gives us advice on what to do, and it works out great. We love him. He's like a free asset for everything. :)
  • If you ask me the guy found a cool build, and more to his credit, he did by reading the books and coming up with the "pretty fricken sweet character".

    You want another sick build?  Check it.

    Using the Mutations option, 2 beneficial mutations and up to 4 Distinctive Mutations

    Distinctive Mutations:
    Organic Steel - (Options) +3 to Armor
    Snake Tail - (Core) + roll on the Beneficial Mutations table
    Scaly Body - (Core) +2 to Armor
    Prehensile Tongue - (options) + roll on the Beneficial Mutations table

    Beneficial Mutations (2 to start, +2 from Distinctive Mutations)
    Bludgeoning Resistance - (Core) +2 to Armor against damage from crush attacks
    Thick Hide - (core) +1 to Armor
    Puncture Resistance - (Core) +2 to Armor against damage from puncturing attacks
    Slicing Resistance - (Core) +2 to Armor against damage from slicing attack

    Yeah, all random rolls.

    Like your rock friend, takes Glaive with No Need for Weapons

    Armor total = 6, 8 vs. Bludgeoning, Puncturing, and Slicing attacks.
    6 points of damage in unarmed attacks.

    Up until we got to the Beneficial mutations the character was looking somewhat ridiculous, a big metal lizard thing.  Then add the armor bonuses and Meet Grimlock, a "human" who's once inactive, recessive-transmode-gene/virus from a previous age, activates mysteriously, and "transforms" (get it, transformer) him into a Techno-Organic being.

    Talk about tough. Good thing he still needs to breathe, drink, eat, can be dazed, stunned, grappled, etc.

    Even though technically he shouldn't have a harmful mutation, I'm still saying that his appearance is so off putting that he has a liabiity on social interactions.

    Now I'm curious though about this Leads focus character of PK Levine's.  That Tier 1 ability would stack with the Entertains tier 2: inspiration abillity reducing a task yet another level.

    I don't feel that Numenera lends itself well to min/maxing, not that it can't be done, just that it's not very efficient.

    And yeah you can try to find ways "around" his character, that's easy.  He made his character and probably knew well what for.  Let him shine at it.  Yeah, the rules say that XP is not giving for fighting, but it's your game, I don't think it would hurt if he got any extra XP for say going toe-to-toe alone with a big bad while the rest of the group was trying to figure out how to get some artifact to start or someting.  That's heroic.


  • The 4 Distinctive mutations are supposed to be 4 Cosmetic mutations (at least, I think so, based on these discussions:


    Though, that said, a hyper-mutated being might be pretty fun to play :)
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