Friday, August 2, 2013

A Read Through of the Numenera RPG Core Book: Part Four

In Chapter 4 of the Numenera RPG by +Monte Cook, we talk about the character types. You may recall I talked about three basic types of characters before, in my last post: Glaive, Jack, and Nano. If you remember the sentence from Numenera about characters in the previous post “I am an adjective noun who verbs.” Then, it becomes important to know that character types becomes the noun in that sentence. So, it will be “I am an adjective Glaive/Jack/Nano who verbs.”

The book breaks down character type descriptions in the following manner: a basic description, the character type in society as a whole, how the glaives might be perceived in a group, how glaives make use of numenera, background (which is kind of like a specialization), connections, and tiers. There is also a table for the character type’s stat Pools. That’s right. There is no random stat generation. It isn’t even point buy. If you are a glaive, jack, or nano, your stat pool is decided for you. So if your Edge. You do get six additional points to spend amongst the initial Pool starting stats, though, so don’t worry. Almost had you there, didn’t I?

The tiers section is neat, because it kind of gives you your skills and abilities—like the glaive being trained to wear all sorts of armor, for example. They aren’t necessarily titled skills and abilities, but they are what makes the character type kind of like a class from other games. This also gives you some special abilities you can choose from, like special attacks or similar to spells, depending on the character type you choose. The book covers the tiers one through six for each of the character types.

The backgrounds are new and I like them. They help us better define our characters. They really are not mechanical addition, but rather a narrative explanation of the character’s skill. Each type appears to have three backgrounds. The glaive, for example, has intensive training, inborn skills, or biomechanical modification.

The connection is just that—something that connects you to the rest of the world. It is a short, one line descriptor. This one liner gives you a item to help build your background and allow you to call upon during the game. For glaive, for example, you roll a d20 and get a 12, your connection is that “You served as a caravan guard. You know a smattering of people in many cities and towns.” It is a narrative detail that can end up proving quite useful in the course of the story.

The round out each character type description with an example character of that type. This is pretty cool, because they could be used as pregen characters, but they also help to give a better picture of strangeness of the Ninth World.

Some of the line art around the description of the Jack seems really out of place against the expectation set by the pretty paintings we see throughout the rest of the Numenera RPG. Otherwise, the mostly reused images from other parts of the book, zooming in on different character types. I don’t know if this great to give us a smaller image and then a blown up image or a tactic to fill with art without getting more art.

And, that’s pretty much what there is to the character types. Next, we’ll talk a bit about descriptiors and maybe the foci as well.