How Should Organized Play Be Handled if It Happens?

One thought I had about organized play for Numenera is that since Torment and Thunderstone will cover different sections of the world then an organized play game should also cover a different area.  Here are a few benefits:


  1. It adds more information about the world to the game from the fans’ perspective.

  2. It could be completely fan driven, allowing Monte and company not having to worry about the impact on what they have already done or will do.

  3. Since it will have its own cannon it would be easier to maintain by not worry about how to implement every book that comes out.

Anyone else have thoughts or ideas on how to make organized play work?


  • How would organised play work? You mean competitively?
  • I'm thinking more along the lines of organization, character development, and so on.  In many organized play events for other games there is a set XP limit players would receive.  Which in order for it to work in an organized style the intrusion would have to be adjusted so that there was an even distribution to the group or you could have players who skyrocket in tiers compared to other players who played the same amount of time.  Not such a problem in a home game but in an organized setting where players can travel all over the world it would become an issue.

    So things of that nature are what I am inquiring about.
  • I think that this should be handled far differently than other games, as in Numenera you can use xp for purposes other than leveling up. My susggestion would be that each session is 1/4 of the xp for each tier. That means if you play for 20 sessions you would be tier 6. I think that feels about right.
  • I've been thinking about how organized play might work for Numenera for sometime now.

    A few things got me thinking while listening to The Signal--largely surrounding the idea of "Numenera Hunters." The logical thought, I suppose, when it comes to "organizing" players would be to fit them into a group, similar to what Pathfinder Society does, and now the D&D Adventurers (no apostrophe) League.

    While it might be too similar to PFS, it would be very easy to have players become "hired" by the Aeon Preists, tasked with the quest of securing specific and legendary Numenera. The issue is, however, that it just becomes to similar to PFS:
    Aeon Priests: Pathfinder Society/Venture Captains
    Numenera: Lore/Artifacts/Treasure
    The Convergence: Aspis Consortium


    This would be an easy way to structure organized play for Numenera, and, admittedly, an uninspired way.


    I don't see an issue with how XP works and the way an organized play system would exist. There would, however, have to be some restrictions. Any organized play network has to introduce limits to the system in order to assure a global network of advancing players and stories.

    Borrowing from how PFS runs, every player could be assigned a number that goes into a database that keeps track of all players. Adventures should have a max XP that can be awarded by the GM. Only so many GM intrusions can happen, and there is of course XP that can be awarded from certain discoveries.

    Players can then update their online profile by choosing how they want to spend their XP. This could be wrapped up neatly into a web-based character builder of sorts.


  • <span style="color: #505050; font-family: 'Open Sans', Tahoma, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;">This would be an easy way to structure organized play for Numenera, and, admittedly, an uninspired way.</span>





    Fut coins
  • A few weeks back I had inquired of MCG if they intended on supporting an organized play for Numenera. This was their response:
    At this time, the answer is we do not have a living campaign planned, but perhaps it is something we can support in the future.

    We wish you all the best from Monte Cook Games!
    I, of course, would love it if MCG supported an organized play for Numenera! For myself, I am thinking of organizing the running of some campaigns for next year's TotalCon.

    The way Im thinking about how XP can be handled in an organized play event is that for each 'scenario' or adventure the GM has a set amount of XP to hand out during the game for intrusions and must include those intrusions into the game. Of course the scenario could be written to include where you include the intrusions; however, I think that takes a TON of fun out of it for the GM. Then perhaps there is some bonus XP that can be earned by the party if they perform as certain discovery.

    I would think that perhaps the number of players at the table determines how many intrusions would be introduced into the game (and the organized play could establish a set table size, say 3 - 6 players per table). So 1 intrusion per player.

    You would also have to adjust the rule where a player receives 2 xp per intrusion, 1 to be given out by the player receiving the xp. Reason being, is you could end up having a table of friends that coordinates always giving the extra XP to a specific individual. You could change it to the GM hands out 2 XP and chooses who gets both.

    So, on average, each game session a player would earn 2 XP and a possibility of 1 more bonus XP for discoveries. So if a player received 3 XP every scenario (which I would not always happen), they player would advance in a Tier every 6 played sessions. Where there are only 6 Tiers, I think that is appropriate.

    Of course, you would want to allow players to still spend XP during the course of the game for re-rolls and avoiding intrusions, etc.

    GM logs during the play sessions could cover all this.
  • Organized Play means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In terms of RPG, people have wildly different ideas (some love PFS, but some don't). But the modern idea of OP in other gaming genres is pretty clear: you need consistency, communication and engagement.

    1. Things need to be consistent among plays. You should be able to flawlessly take your character from one store/convention to another with absolutely no tweaks based on the store or DM. This is a standard of play that people come to expect. For example, people play different variations of Magic at their kitchen table. However, all players going to a tournament should be able to look at the tournament and say "This is legal. These are the rules for deck size. These are the rules for X and Y." This takes not only a lot of logistical effort (in RPGs, this involves tracking and a level of honesty), but it's expensive. PFS has a way for you to make and enter characters on their website, but it also allows you to keep track of which adventures have been played. A lot of this is done through volunteers (Venture Captains in PFS, Local Coordinators in DDAL) but a lot of it isn't.

    Adventures that are "OP Legal" to play should be the same through each store/GM. Going to a store and playing "X Adventure" should deliver a similar (everyone will always put their own twists on things, so I don't expect it to be identical) experience as playing the same Adventure with a different store/GM. This also means people are making new OP content, pumping them out enough to keep players engaged.

    2. Communication is the second pillar of OP. One of the reasons that PFS is so popular is because the company understands communicating their ideas, priorities and structure to both stores and players in a clear, concise way. There was a clear message of "When you have a session in your store you need to X beforehand, and you can expect Y to happen during games, and then Z afterwards." The same isn't true for OP programs that are poorly implemented (this isn't limited to RPGs, and somewhat a peeve of mine).

    There are some (I will leave them unnamed) programs that I ran a few years ago when I was the manager of an LGS. The game was REALLY popular in more store, and so we signed up for as many OP products as we could. They came out with two different types of OP: yearly and monthly, which was a lot. However, we held this game weekly and ended up with lots of interest. 8 - 12 people came in to play every week. The catch was, there were no instructions on how to set up their tournaments/games or how to give out prizes. It was guess work on the part of the TO. After a about 9 months, the structure of the prize kits changed without warning, and so we ended up ordering less. The players slowly faded away. From what I understand, the company now sends pretty clear instructions now, though I no longer manage an LGS so I don't know the impact.

    The point of this is that there will need to be people (or at least one person) who communicates to both the stores and customers. Stores need to be spoken to directly, while player communication can be done via blogs. This also incorporates elements of marketing (door signs, window clings, etc. that all say "OP Program Played Here!") that is even MORE cost worthy.

    3. Engagement is a strange combination of the above two points, but it's important enough to be given it's own paragraph or so. Without engagement by fans, OP isn't worth it. At the end of the day, OP is a way to move more product. OP itself is not USUALLY product, and does not usually associate with an end-user cost (let me clarify: a lot of OP programs have a cost, but that cost is to the store. OP programs RARELY have an associated MSRP, and thus does not have an end-user cost. Stores will often assign a "table fee" to events to help mitigate the cost of the OP kit, but also because you're using their table space) but instead OP encourages people to buy existing product. (In PFS, you have to have a copy of the Core book in order to play, and you also have to have a copy of any legal supplemental book in order to play legal supplements from that book. This is one of the reasons that stores had an initially poor response to DDAL, which gave practically the whole PHB away as a PDF to anyone who wanted it).

    This one is slipping away, so let me reiterate. Engagement is HOW you communicate (manufacturer>store>customer) and HOW you remain consistent (the structure of the program itself) in ways that make the customer happy. This is achieved in a variety of ways, depending on who you ask. In PFS one of the coolest ways that Engagement comes about is during Cons. Players are allowed to bring characters from home to play in adventures at cons (this is the basic part). HOWEVER, big conventions (GenCon) have special con-exclusive adventures referred to as "Specials" that get every participant involved. Walking into the PFS hall at GenCon is a sight to see. At least 100 tables are live at any given moment, most of the time playing different adventures. However, when the Special is happening EVERY table is playing in the same game. Each table has their own GM, but all of them are interacting together. A GM will call out if his/her players have found something to the Head GM, who will make a revelation to every table.

    D&D did something similar when they were testing out 5th Edition (then called "Next"). However, some games try something different. AEG's old L5R RPG was compounded with the L5R CCG. During big conventions (or tournaments for the CCG) players would take part in a particular event. For example, a GenCon tournament of the CCG represented a specific fixed event in the history of the world of Rokugan, and the information from that tournament (how many of X deck showed up, or Y of a particular card appeared) would be used to write the story of that event. The winner would be presented with options of how they wanted to resolve the event. The RPG was handled in a similar matter.

    Now, I say all of this not by saying that Numenera OP can't or shouldn't be done (on the contrary, I think Numenera OP done right could be awesome). I'm just hoping to clarify WHY it hasn't been done, and why they're probably cautious about doing OP. OP done right can bring a lot of new players, and give them a lot of market research (if done properly). However, a bad OP program is like throwing money away, and in most cases it stains your record in a way that will bury OP programs for you.
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