Thursday, August 8, 2013

Homebrewing the Numenera RPG


Descriptor
Stats
Skills
Special
Charming
+2 Intellect
       Pleasant/Positive Social Interaction
           Mind Influencing esoteries
           Important Contact
           Inability Lore, Knowledge, Understanding
           Inability Resist Mental Attack
           10 extra shins
Clever
+2 Intellect
           Trickery
           Mental attack defense
           Assessing danger, lies, importance, quality, function, or power
          Inability Lore, Knowledge, & Understanding
           10 extra shins
Graceful
+2 Speed
           Balance and careful movement
           Physical performing arts
           Speed defense
           None
Intelligent
+2 Intellect
           Knowledge of Choice
           Memorizing direct experiences
            
Learned
+2 Intellect
           3 Knowledge of Choice
           Inability charm, etiquette, persuasion
           2 additional books on topic of choice
Mystical/Mechanical
+2 Intellect
           Identifying & understanding Numenera
           Sense active numenera
           Hedge magic estotery
           Inability charm, etiquette, persuasion
Rugged
N/A
           Climbing, jumping, running, swimming
           Training, riding or placating natural animals
           Identifying or using natural plants
           Inability charm, etiquette, persuasion, deception
           Explorer’s pack or extra if already have one
Stealthy
+2 Speed
           Stealth
           Trickery
           Esoteries or special abilities involving illusion or trickery
           Inability movement
Strong
+4 Might
           Breaking inanimate objects
           Jumping
           Extra medium or heavy weapon
Strong-Willed
+4 Intellect
           Resist mental effects
           Focus/Concentration
           Inability Puzzles, problems, memorization, lore
Swift
+4 Speed
           Initiative
           Running
           Inability Balance
Tough
N/A
           +1 Armor
           +1 Recovery rolls
           Might Defense
           Extra light weapon


According to the optional rules in the Numenera RPG Core Book, some descriptors offer a +4 to a stat Pool and either two narrow and one broad skill while others have a +2 to stat Pool and either 3 narrow skills or one narrow skill and one broad skill. Additional skills can be added by adding an inability. Add 10 to 15 shins of additional equipment. As we can see, this is a very loose guideline. For example, the Tough character gets an extra light weapon. While I am not sure how the two relate thematically, it is interesting that the guideline recommends that 10 to 15 shins of extra equipment be given out to even things up, but the light weapon typically costs only 3 shins. I believe this is even further thrown out of whack when you consider a descriptor can be replaced with a different race or variable mutant ability.


This can make a bit difficult when trying to come up with new descriptors, which the Numenera RPG almost dares you today, but it can also make it easier. It really depends on your viewpoints. There is a lot of eyeballing here, which is one of the things I didn’t really like about the creation rules for Cortex’s Marvel Super Heroic RPG. Part of that, I have realized is my old school role playing experiences. Without a firmly defined schematic for defining descriptors, it frees those of us who want to homebrew new additions to the game from some more traditional practices of balancing, although it opens up more relying on others’ opinions and playtesting. I plan on creating some of my own descriptors here in the very near future—maybe even tonight. I’m curious how that exercise will work out, but I am also curious to hear others’ thoughts on the whole thing.