Numenera using another setting

edited June 2015 in Rules and General Q&A
I'm very new to Numenera, and I still haven't read it all. I am just wondering: Is Numenera dependant to it's setting? What if I want to play a common medieval fantasy setting? Can cyphers and artifacts have another less sci-fi skin? (potions, scrolls, expendable magic items, perhaps?)

Are the monsters/npcs customizable as well?

The setting I'm planning to run is Zendikar (Magic the Gathering plane), which fits perfectly to the discovery essence of Numenera.
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  • the cypher system could easily be used in that way. the beauty of the system is you just pick a world you want to run it in and go. nano powers would become magic, and cyphers and artifacts would become scrolls and magic items
  • I'm actually using it to play a version of the classic Dragonlance campaign, albeit set in a very Ninth-World ish setting. Still, it would just be a different type of redressing to run it as a classic fantasy game instead. 
  • Yes, you can make cyphers into more traditional magical items, but keep in mind but their availability and quantity limitation. 

    In Numenera, cyphers are everywhere (almost), so the party feels free to use up their one shot devices rapidly.  If you are using a magic device replacement, then where do your players easily get new ones?  If you change you devices away from being one-shot items, then you loose the rapid change of abilities that the system provides.  You might think the change unimportant, but with some cyphers more useful then others, the change keeps the players from being continuously over or under powered. Thus making new cypher design easier as well; they don't have to well balanced with all the other cyphers.

    Also, the cypher system limits how many devices anyone can carry by making them interact dangerously if you have too many.  It's mentioned in the book as a game balance issue, so you should include it into your magic system.
  • Cyphers are easy to put into a typical fantasy system just use a little imagination. Artifacts are your players awesome staves, magic circlets etc.



    For cyphers in order to keep their huge availability think of magic in the old school sense:



    Magic exists in everything around us and those 'attuned' to its invisible presence have learned to read its properties in all life. Cyphers can therefore be either or both:

    1) runic words found everywhere, players can store their cypher limit as memorised words which once uttered leave their mind (one cast spells)

    or 2) Spell books where you literally say the spell words and they float off the page casting the spell but using it up.



    Both of these allow for one use but runic words allow for more access. I'd use both but leave the more powerful cyphers (occultic(2 slot cyphers)) as the spell pages.



    This is just advice but to keep with the feel of numenera I would even alter fantasy setting to be magic was once prevalent throughout the lands but over time people forgot about it. Pixies, elves all became legends. Today people all are capable of reading 'magic' but don't know it. Some people have gained a slight affinity for it (nanos) where as others (glaives and jacks) merely use it to their advantage through cyphers. This allows you to keep it 'wierd' by making the magical being very alien to the party and keeps magic as the cypher system would use it.



    As I said though just a suggestion. Take it with a grain of salt.

    Jim Mathews said:
    Yes, you can make cyphers into more traditional magical items, but keep in mind but their availability and quantity limitation. 

    In Numenera, cyphers are everywhere (almost), so the party feels free to use up their one shot devices rapidly.  If you are using a magic device replacement, then where do your players easily get new ones?  If you change you devices away from being one-shot items, then you loose the rapid change of abilities that the system provides.  You might think the change unimportant, but with some cyphers more useful then others, the change keeps the players from being continuously over or under powered. Thus making new cypher design easier as well; they don't have to well balanced with all the other cyphers.

    Also, the cypher system limits how many devices anyone can carry by making them interact dangerously if you have too many.  It's mentioned in the book as a game balance issue, so you should include it into your magic system.



  • I have no specific input that goes beyond the excellent responses above. I will say I absolutely agree the Cypher system lends itself well to a variety of settings.

    A homebrew setting idea that has long flittered about in my mind is the barebones idea of a quasi-medieval post-apocalyptic setting. This setting would be pretty standard fantasy-rpg, in most ways. The cultural and historical context would be that the world has just begun to recover from a devastating arcane war (or apocalyptic event) that nearly destroyed everything. As the world once more grows strong, the dangerous knowledge and magic that nearly ended everything is slowly being rediscovered. How do the people of this world feel about this? How do the PCs? It's hardly a ground-breaking idea, and the above outline could really be viewed as a description of Numenera itself.

    I type all that above to say this: if I ever get around to said game, this may be the system I use. The cyphers, artifacts and oddities of this game can easily be reskinned as arcane tools and detritus of fallen empires and civilizations. Heck, that's how many of the citizens of Numenera's world view the technological wonders around them. Really, it's all just flavor text and GM descriptions.
  • In this setting, magic is common and it is filled with ancient ruins, so I think availability won't be a concern.

    I'll have cyphers in the form of potions, scrolls, runes and spellbooks (thank you Anthony Martin for those two, loved the idea), but not only them. Magic imbued things like gems you break, stones you throw or fruits you eat and anything that makes sense.

    When the players break the cypher limit, the potions can go stale, the magic glow of gems and stones fades, the fruits rot. Perhaps the scrolls and spellbooks were too old and crumble away. Many things can happen.

    Thank you all for the awesome replies! I really appreciate it
  • Thanks :) Those extra ideas are awesome as well! Would love to play a game like this :)
  • Have you seen the material release about The Strange (also a cypher system game -- releasing in August) and its sub-setting of Ardeyn?  It might prove enlightening.  
  • That does seem useful, might be able to add to your already great ideas.



    Scott Robinson said:
    Have you seen the material release about The Strange (also a cypher system game -- releasing in August) and its sub-setting of Ardeyn?  It might prove enlightening.  



  • I haven't seen anything about The Strange, honestly. I will take a look at it! Thank you!

    Scott Robinson said:
    Have you seen the material release about The Strange (also a cypher system game -- releasing in August) and its sub-setting of Ardeyn?  It might prove enlightening.  



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