Bears a Halo of Fire and bare handed attacks

First post here. I hope this hasn't already been addressed.

I am just starting to play around with the Numenera system and was making some test characters for my group to use in an introductory one shot. I had a concept for a Glaive with No Need for Weapons that Bears a Halo of Fire. The Tier 1 ability from the Focus is Shroud of Flame which indicates that the fire "automatically inflicts 2 points of damage to anyone that tries to touch you or strike you with a melee attack." The Tier 4 ability is Flameblade which allows you to extend your halo to cover a weapon that you wield causing it to deal 2 additional points of damage.

The question relates to a Glaive that has No Need for Weapons and attacks with their bare hands / feet / etc. Logically, it would seem that the Shroud of Flame ability would result in those unarmed attacks dealing 2 additional points of damage. Striking with a flame shrouded fist should result in the same or greater contact with the fire to an opponent that would be caused by that foe hitting the character with a sword. However, from a game balance perspective, is this a correct interpretation? Should I come up with some pseudo physics reason that the Shroud does not have this effect when the Glaive makes an unarmed attack?

Your responses and discussion are appreciated.


  • +2 fire to unarmed regardless of if your using the Tier 1 or Tier 4 ability.

    Tier 4 ability would be extending the halo to a object seperate from your physical body.

    It means for the cost of 1 Intellect per fight, your fists are heavy weapons (aslong as whatever your slapping about isnt fire proof).
  • I would keep the abilities as they are just for the sake of balance and not trying to complicate or tweak rules in one way or another. There might be small holes in logic but it's not to say they couldn't spend XP to make things work in their favor in the future.

    the Tier 1 "fire shield" ability could be argued that since an enemy has to get close enough to strike you it causes the damage. However for you to strike THEM with enough force to cause damage your fist moves too quickly and the fire goes out, similar to moving a match too fast. Normally the enemies are trying to keep their distance to not get burned.

    When you hit T4 your flames have been getting steadily hotter and more intense each time and now when you punch the flames not only stay on your fists but seem to leap forward toward the target, burning them on touch.
  • You might even tell the player that the Shroud is indeed part of his or her ability to deal damage in exactly the way the player imagines; however, before T4 it just doesn't mechanically affect the damage that character deals on an attack.

    If that feels like a cop-out - perhaps what ginsu said to justify how it "makes sense" will be a good way to work it out. Alternatively, explain that before T4, the use of Shroud is draining such that the character cannot hit as hard while using the ability, and the fire from the Shroud makes up for that (resulting in a wash).

    Beyond that, I would tell him: The clear intention of those abilities and their progression is that before T4, the Shroud is unable to be used to add damage to attacks. At T4, it can. Either way, the halo of fire is there, the Shroud activates when desired, and so on - but all this is part of the character's narrative and not necessarily meant to convey statistical changes in every way the player can imagine.

    Honestly: You don't really even need to justify it; point him to page 346 (middle of page, right column). Don't forget that you as the GM have the responsibility of quelling a player's attempts to power-game, munchkin, whatever-you-call-it.
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