If you follow me here or on any of my social media places, you’ve probably heard about this Numenera thing I’ve been working on for the past eight months or so. I know a lot of you are gamers, but some of you aren’t, so I thought I’d give you gamers a glimpse into the Numenera creation while also introducing my non-gamer followers, friends and fans to this whole thing.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE: Numenera, if you don’t yet know, is a tabletop roleplaying game (think Dungeons & Dragons, where a bunch of friends sit around a table and create characters for themselves and then go on awesome adventures. They roll dice to see how well they do at various tasks, kill creatures, and gather cool treasures, weapons and things to wear. It’s great fun, and I highly recommend it if you’ve never tried it). The game itself isn’t like what you imagine — there isn’t a board per se, and it doesn’t usually come in a box. Instead, it comes as a book (or a series of books) that explain the rules and develop the world. Roleplaying games don’t just come in the traditional fantasy flavor, either. There are roleplaying games set in the modern world, in the past, in other worlds, in post-apocalyptic worlds. There are zombies, vampires, tentacled monsters, and a million other flavors. Some roleplaying games are funny, while others are scary, dark and serious. The game Monster Hearts describes itself as a game of sex and sexy monsters, teenage angst, personal horror, and secret love triangles, while Call of Cthulhu is a game that tries to strip your characters of their sanity bit-by-bit (or sometimes all at once).
So, that’s what we’re building. Numenera is a game set one billion years in the future. Yeah, that’s a damn long time in the future. Yeah, we’ve thought (A LOT) about the science of that. What will the world be like? Will it support life? Will the planet even exist? While our current scientific knowledge has answers to those questions, they are answered based on the science of the now. Not the science of 100 years from now (think about science 100 years ago to see what a difference a hundred years makes), not the science of 1000 years from now, and certainly not the science of a billion years from now.
In our version of the future, the planet does exist, and it’s full of wild, weird, and unexplainable things. Which is part of what makes it fun.
THE ADVANCED GUIDE: For those who are already gamers and who’ve been following the Numenera creation, here’s some new stuff that you might be interested in:
First, the corebook (this is the main game book) is mostly complete and is currently being proofed. It looks a little something like this:
It’s turning out to be a beautiful, rich, and complex book, and I’m very much in love with it. The Player’s Guide is nearly finished as well. If you want a copy of either of these books, it’s not to late to pre-order. They’ll be available until the end of May, and pre-orders will be shipped out at the same time (or just shortly after) Kickstarter backers. The only way to get your book earlier is to purchase a copy from us at GenCon during the official Numenera launch.
Second, we have so many things in the works that I’m not sure I have room to talk about them all, but here’s what I can talk about so far:
–Monte is currently working on The Devil’s Spine, the collection of separate-but-connected adventures.
–We’ve seen the mock-up of the Numenera dice (yum!), and the XP card deck (ditto). We’re currently working on the cypher deck and some of the other products from the Kickstarter. Keep an eye out over the next few months at numenera.com, as we’ll be offering more information on these.
–We’re putting together a collection of short fiction to help tide you over until the game comes out! Our goal with Numenera fiction is to create amazing stories, the kind of fiction that draws you in whether you’re a gamer or not. Of course, if you ARE a gamer and specifically a Numenera gamer, you’ll get even more from the stories.
Here’s the opening of the draft of my story from the collection (subject to change during the editing process, of course :)):
Marseyl waited in an old byway, desperately trying to keep the stink of sea sweat and dying fish from assaulting her nose. It was hotter here than it should be this time of year, the sun’s slant making her sweat through her last wearable shirt. She slipped into the shade of the building, letting the temporary cool wash over her until she shivered.
A man dressed in the faded crimson of the Redfleets strode by her without giving any indication that he’d seen her, carrying a dripping sac that reeked of the deeps. Water splattered against the stones near her feet. Sighing, she step-sided, but too late, the liquid marking the toes of her worn boots.
She hated Kaparin, with its psuedo-grandeur and its unrequieted love of everything sea-faring, with its huge expanse of docks and its false history and its way of getting under every bit of her skin, sinking in like a bad tap. She hated it, but she needed it too.
Which was why she’d come back, why she was now skulking in a half alley getting codspray in her hair and fishwater on her feet. She had jobs to do elsewhere, in parts of the world where they didn’t know about her, where she was just another tattooed thief who got her hands dirty so that theirs were always clean. But always Kaparin drew her back. Her need drew her back.
There’s lots more happening behind the scenes right now, but nothing that I can talk about — yet! Of course, as soon as I know details, you will know details. Thanks for all of your support. It means more than I can say to know that you’re excited about this game and that when it’s done, it’s going to go into the hands of people who truly love to game.
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.