High Tier Glaives vs High Tier Nanos

are there GMs here who already have some higher tier PCs(tier 5 or 6) in their group?

Since all the glaives get in their "skill-tree" are combat related skills I wanted to ask for some first hand experience of glaive players with a combat focus & descriptor in comparison to a nano who is able to mind read, become invisible, can teleport, can ask the freaking datasphere for answers and can scan the sh*t out of everything.

if I would play such a glaive and the nano in my group would become this super awesome "i have an esotery for every possible situation" kinda guy. I would probably shred my char-sheet and start over as a nano...

The high tier nano just seems to be way too useful for almost every scenario other than standing in the middle of a battlefield (which shouldn't happen THAT often).

Someone here who can share a story of the glaive "who saved the day"?

Someone who has this "problem" in his group?

I want to like glaives but I would always go for a jack or a nano because they just seem to have so much more potential when it comes to anything other than killing...
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Comments

  • Don't forget, there is GM Intrusions.  That high-powered Nano?  Something awful happened when he used his esotery!

    Also, when a PC rolls a 1, awful things happen as well.
  • That applies to all 3 classes...
  • Really, the problem is that Numenera (the game) is specifically designed to deprecate combat as part of the game experience.  It happens, but it's just as well if it doesn't happen and you don't get rewards for it happening.  Given that, it kind of sucks to be playing the character whose raison d'etre is combat.

    Just my opinion, but when I read Glaive abilities I get the impression that there was just a lot less thought and enthusiasm put into the character type than the other two.  Going back to how the game itself deprecates combat.
  • I don't see why combat wouldn't be a central concept. In a world of limited Numenera resources those who control the big ones hold the power. No different than oil or gold, natural gas, or anything.



    Surely there are wars, border skirmishes, raiders, slavers, etc.

    Group of abhuman raiders trying to use a powerful artifact to kill off a walled town by causing directed lightning storms overhead? How do you plan to Scan your way through them?

    Other than a lack of dedicated in depth mechanics (which goes for everything in this game) there is no reason to avoid combat, hell, it can and SHOULD be important throughout your adventures.

    I think the idea was to avoid combat as a reason to play, and make it part of the journey instead. Your characters are adventurers in a hostile and mysterious world, there are going to be people, things, groups that don't agree with them, who WILL use force to try and stop them.
  • My group has a Rugged Glaive who Hunts With Great Skill, while the Nano's scanning ability can give a rough idea of what something in the area is, sometimes having someone with the skills to move ahead over almost any terrain as a forward scout can come in really handy.

    Glaives are also somewhat respected by the people of the Ninth World. Someone who hunts monsters or can help deal with problems outside of what the City Guard usually face could work well as the face of the party.
  • Except that none of the previously mentioned challenges are uniquely suited to the talents of a glaive.  Any sufficiently strong/clever group of adventurers can fight off the Threat Of The Week.  Any Rugged X who Hunts With Great Skill is a wilderness asset; it comes from the Descriptor and Focus, not the character type.  Heck, I'd go so far as to say that glaives don't have unique talents, which is the whole problem.  The few unique fighting moves glaives get are easily replaced by other abilities from other types and character foci. 

    Heck, glaives have very little in the way of special tanking ability, the usual asset of fighter-type classes.  Health comes from the combined attribute pools, which are mostly a wash between types.  Jacks get Defense training at lower tiers and Nanos can accumulate superior armor/defenses through Usurp Cypher in the long run.  And either type is better at numenera use than a glaive.  Also, unlike That Well-Known Fantasy Game That Monte Worked On, glaives don't even have recourse to class-restricted items.

    As for the role of combat in Numenera, let's take it from the source:
    In Numenera, players are not rewarded for slaying foes in combat, so using a smart idea to avoid combat and still succeed is just good play. Likewise, coming up with an idea to defeat a foe without hammering
    on it with weapons is encouraged—creativity is not cheating!

    Also:
    While GM intrusion is interesting, the game also has a more conventional method of awarding XP between sessions. But it has nothing to do with killing monsters.

    I know—that’s weird for a lot of players. Defeating opponents in battle is the core way you earn XP in many games. But not in Numenera. I’m a firm believer in awarding players experience points for the thing you expect them to do in the game. Experience points are the reward pellets they get for pushing the button—oh, wait, no, that’s for rats in a lab. Well, same principle: give the players XP for doing a thing, and that thing is what they’ll do.

    In Numenera, that thing is discovery.

    Fighting is a glaive's only purpose and the game (as designed) does not value fighting.  Hence, glaives have less value than the other character types.  Individual groups can change that in their own games, of course, but you have to make a deliberate decision to do that.
  • If your players make glaives, then clearly they want to see combat.



    Why would you deny them that?
  • I'm not sure how you guys played other RPGs. But fighting was not rewarded, ever, in any game I've been in. Do you get XP for defeating an encounter? Yes. Does that mean fighting it? No. Sneaking past, talking past, clever use of items/terrain/traps whatever, and that is a defeated encounter.

    Even in DnD, you get rewarded for defeating the encounter. It doesn't say anywhere that you have to kill the encounter.
  • Older versions of DnD (and given that 3.0 is 23 years old, it's not surprising you don't encounter this) used more bloodthirsty terminology, and to this day many groups play the "murder hobo" style.

    Jeff Wells said:
    I'm not sure how you guys played other RPGs. But fighting was not rewarded, ever, in any game I've been in. Do you get XP for defeating an encounter? Yes. Does that mean fighting it? No. Sneaking past, talking past, clever use of items/terrain/traps whatever, and that is a defeated encounter.

    Even in DnD, you get rewarded for defeating the encounter. It doesn't say anywhere that you have to kill the encounter.



  • Even in 2e it described it, by recollection (which is spotty, haven't played it in 15+ years) that it says defeat an encounter. I'm at work so my PHB/DMG is out of reach at the moment.
  • 23 years for 3.0?  I think you mean 2E :P  I remember when 3.0 came out and I'm not that old :P

    Nobilis Reed said:
    Older versions of DnD (and given that 3.0 is 23 years old, it's not surprising you don't encounter this) used more bloodthirsty terminology, and to this day many groups play the "murder hobo" style.

    Jeff Wells said:
    I'm not sure how you guys played other RPGs. But fighting was not rewarded, ever, in any game I've been in. Do you get XP for defeating an encounter? Yes. Does that mean fighting it? No. Sneaking past, talking past, clever use of items/terrain/traps whatever, and that is a defeated encounter.

    Even in DnD, you get rewarded for defeating the encounter. It doesn't say anywhere that you have to kill the encounter.




  • It's about 13 years old if I recall.
  • Regardless of which combat is valued or not in a campaign. 

    It is important to realize that this balence is purely dependent on the GMs ability to manage and challenge their players' abilities.
    If the players are not challenged, using all of their abilities, it is at the fault of the GM.
  • Precisely, Andreas.

    As I said before, when a player makes a glaive, they're saying they want to see some fights.
  • Also, make sure to look at the abilities and cyphers that the players have and tailor encounters so they can use them.

    I think the attitude of Numenera is discovery based and therefore should avoid combat is just silly. There are combat skills, classes, etc for a reason.



    Use all available tools to move the story forward.
  • Having played Living Greyhawk/Living Force/Pathfinder/etc, you definitely got more XP for doing the obligatory fight encounters than you did talking your way or avoiding the encounter by other methods.

    Fighting was more prized than using your other skills.

    Why else do the creatures in those games have an XP reward and treasure lists for defeating them?
  • Jacks & Nanos can certainly be good in combat aswell but my concern was that Glaives who choose their focus and descriptor to fit their fighting skills seem to be weak in everything that's not combat related. That means more than half the time the group is doing anything, the Glaive waits in the back row until there is something to cut. So Jacks & Nanos can get involved all the time (including combat) but Glaives are good for nothing else...

    This is my impression, which is the reason why I was asking for different experiences with Glaives, where they were shining in a situation that didn't involve spreading blood.
  • Defeat...does not mean kill, maim, stab, anything. You can put them to sleep, sneak past, bargain, whatever. Do you really think they carry treasure on them? More than likely they leave it in a base camp, lair, etc.

    A creature is CR#, you get the XP for defeating an Encounter of CR#, whether it's dead or not. Sounds like poor GMing if they just ran a railroad of murder hobo's through adventure books without allowing the creative aspects of roleplaying.


    Anestis Kozakis said:
    Having played Living Greyhawk/Living Force/Pathfinder/etc, you definitely got more XP for doing the obligatory fight encounters than you did talking your way or avoiding the encounter by other methods.

    Fighting was more prized than using your other skills.

    Why else do the creatures in those games have an XP reward and treasure lists for defeating them?


  • That was not the interpretation for the Living and other organised play games I played.  Defeat meant killing them.  Didn't kill them? No XP.

    Go look at some of the modules.  You got very little to no XP, no treasure, and no other rewards for finding another way through the encounter.

    You were expected to kill for the XP and treasure.
  • That is a poor interpretation.

    You can defeat someone in a game of Chess, doesn't mean you reach over and stab them...
  • Yes it is, but I didn't create the Living/organised play systems or write the modules, or vet/edit them, etc.  I just played and ran them.  Nine years of playing and seven years of GMing.

    And everyone complained about it, and when people tried to write modules that rewarded out of the box thinking for resolving the encounter another way, the editors would almost always go "No, the PC's have to kill them".
  • Probably to keep it all on the same level pitch sadly.
  • sigh, convo rails off topic again,

    anywho,
    Andreas, (not talking to myself here, different guy, same name)
    look at the characters in terms of build,

    The way that this is handled is that the glaive takes descriptors and abilities that make their character skills unique
     ie

    Lord Kendrik (A Charming Glaive who Leads)
    Kybun the Sage warrior (Learned Glaive who Works Miracles)
    Knolan Astrius (the bountyhunter) (Charming Glaive who Murders)
    Armand Dorian (Learned Glaive who Talks to Machines)
    Mazanabi the bard (Stealthy Glaive who Entertains)
    Astrin King of Thieves (Rugged Glaive who works the Back Alleys)

    The beauty of numenera is that your class does not restrict to the potential character possibilities. Even as you gain experience, you can spend xp into other character development skills, which would place you in the front of the party even when not using combat.
  • I realize that focus & descriptor have a huge impact on your class, that's why I'm talking about Glaives that have combat related foci and descriptor. A Glaive that can read minds or manipulate magnetism is fine but when you choose one that is a master of weapons e.g. the only job for the rest of your chars life will be that of a fighter since the skills she gains from then on are exclusively for combat. there is no different path available later on... whereas Jacks and Nanos have the choice of getting skills that makes them good in a lot of other situations.

    I'm running in circles here...After all I was hoping for reports of practical experiences with these kind of Glaives and someone who can tell me that I'm wrong and that "combat-only" Glaives are relevant in a Tier 5 & 6 group because I can't imagine that being the case right now...
  • I'm a little confused with your problem being specific to Numenera; as far as I'm concerned this is a player problem, not a system problem.

    Numenera allows you to do anything you want.  Having outside of combat abilities such as training in a skill of some sort is only a bonus; someone can still attempt to find traps or solve a puzzle or talk their way past the guard or have a social encounter without having various esoteries or skill training to support it.  

    I have two Glaives in my group, and a nano and a jack.  Now to be fair, both Glaives have non-combat foci; one is Works Miracles and the other is Crafts Unique Objects.  However both characters step out of their focus in every single game session: they use their cyphers in creative ways when they were attempting to do some detective work, they deal with NPCs on a regular basis that has nothing to do with healing or crafting, etc.  But that's because they're played by good roleplayers.  On the flipside, in my friend's game (seperate system) he's got a player trying to play a high charisma mage, who has access to all sorts of spells that have non-combat functions.  But the player is not a high Charisma person, and so he doesn't role play it very well and doesn't utilize his abilities that much outside of combat.

    It's player skill and roleplaying that determine the fun and interaction in a game, not rules or special abilities.  Some players are just stronger than others.  As a GM, perhaps putting them in more of an open world situation would work: present them with a situation and ask them what htey would do, let them run the game.  Most players in my experience will surprise you and do just fine.


    Andreas said:
    I realize that focus & descriptor have a huge impact on your class, that's why I'm talking about Glaives that have combat related foci and descriptor. A Glaive that can read minds or manipulate magnetism is fine but when you choose one that is a master of weapons e.g. the only job for the rest of your chars life will be that of a fighter since the skills she gains from then on are exclusively for combat. there is no different path available later on... whereas Jacks and Nanos have the choice of getting skills that makes them good in a lot of other situations.

    I'm running in circles here...After all I was hoping for reports of practical experiences with these kind of Glaives and someone who can tell me that I'm wrong and that "combat-only" Glaives are relevant in a Tier 5 & 6 group because I can't imagine that being the case right now...


  • I've always wanted to play a character who wields two weapons, but a lot of gaming systems make it very difficulty due to all the additional feats/abilities you have to take (i.e. 3.5 you have to take ambidexterity, and two-weapon fighting, and a few others to make it worthwhile, which becomes restrictive on other feats that might be useful but you can't take due to lack of feat slots).

    In Numenera, I can do it without worrying about the fiddly bits, and I have created such a character (but haven't had a chance to play her).  It's the concept I want to play, not the rules min-maxing.

    And as Muton said, in Numenera even a Glaive can interract with NPCs and solve puzzles because there is nothing in the rules to say they can't.

    I understand people have a hard time of understanding the way Numenera works after playing a rules-centric system like D&D, but the trick is to stop focussing on the rules and start focussing on the concepts and possibilities.
  • I would wager that if I was a high-level glaive that had a combat focus and combat descriptor that made me feel like i was becoming unhelpful due to everything being about crushing bags of meat in front of me, i might spend some of my Tier-up benefits on non-combat skills, maybe pad out my intellect pool/edge to be better at persuading people, specialize in skills that let me use my strength for other things (lifting massive weight, being intimidating, etc).

    But, to OP's original concern, i think it's valid. If your players aren't much for combat on the average, and someone chooses a VERY combat focused glaive, they could have a bad time. 

    Pure martial classes usually have this problem, my PF group has a fighter that is a powerhouse but feels left behind because he can't do all the amazing spells. That said, I envy HIM because my cleric is only 1 "arrow-to-the-face" away from death at any moment and he crushes creatures trying to get to me before i CAN cast.

    Jack's and Nano's have more options/variety for non-combat when you consider ONLY the class tier abilities. Glaive's get the option of going either more towards offense or more towards defense, having the ability to swing their sword forever (swords don't lose pool for being used, even before factoring in edge), being ranged or melee. All very combat-centric.

    I think this is due more to the level of "fantasy" than anything else. In very-high-fantasy you can have a martial class that can cut god in half or a caster that can explode the sun. When you get to the more mid-fantasy that we have here, a martial is going to be great at taking hits/dodging and doling out blows while a caster can maybe do a couple of big attacks or a number of small, situational bonus'/aids. Which is better: bombs or ladders? It depends on the game, players and DM.

    TL;DR OP has a valid concern that will make combat-focused glaive players upset in a non-combat-focused campaign/player-group.
  • If a Nano is going to use a high-level esotery that is an AOE (area of effect) to attack enemy combatants and my Glaive is in that area in melee combat with said enemies and says "No, wait!" and the Nano does it anyway, then that Nano is going to get an education after the combat finishes.

    Everything is situational.
  • The answer is simple: house rule some XP for combat. Then play it however you and your players agree is fun and have a blast.
  • I played in a high level Forgotten Realms 3.5 game - we were about 17th level or so.  I was a utility wizard, and we had the usual rogue's gallery of cleric of a war god, thief, fighter, and warlock.  And yes, my mage did have an answer to every question - I had been playing a fighter and switched to the mage because the party had no utility caster, and suddenly combats got a lot easier.

    However!  The one thing a high level fighter brings to the party, to any party, is contingency and durability.  Even if your fighter is heavily combat focused, and can't contribute much to the local bardic contest, he still has something that is hard to take away - his ability to swing a sword (or whatever).

    My mage could cast spells, but not all day long.  Once my higher level spells were gone, combat became much much harder, while the fighter was just as awesome swinging her sword on round 20 as she was on round 10.  When the mage was down on spells, she could plink away with lower-level stuff while the fighter worked her way through the newest batch of monsters that would have killed my character dead had they reached her.

    To go back to Numenera - Yes, a high-tier nano can reshape reality.  But he can't reshape reality all day long.  When the Intellect points run out, the glaive steps in.  At high levels, the glaive is no longer the pointman, the glaive is the shield.  The glaive is the last defense, the moat, the crenulations, the ballista, and the boiling oil.  The glaive is the steady, the constant, the really big stick you hide behind your back, and when they think you're down and out, WHAM!

    When you reach high levels, your roles in the party do change, sometimes very drastically.  That's how I view high-level play.
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