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99 Ways of Looking at the Numenera Limited License

posted on: October 11, 2013
in: Games, Numenera

 Okay, there are really only three ways here, but the Internet has pretty much already covered the other 96 (including some nicely written, thoughtful pieces like this and this). However, since the Internet is occasionally incorrect or incomplete, I thought I would offer a few more possible ways of looking at Numenera’s limited license.

Here they are, in no particular order:

A Limited License is Voluntary

By which I mean that it’s voluntary for you—you don’t have to create Numenera products if you don’t like the IP or the license—but that it’s also voluntary for Monte Cook Games. There is nothing that says we even have to have a limited licensing policy (or any licensing policy for that matter).

However, we love our fans and we love small publishers and we want to support them. Charging $50 is an inexpensive way to let fans use the Numenera setting to create products for profit without us taking a percentage of their sales (as we do with full licenses).

To be honest, creating and maintaining limited licenses are an awful lot of work on our end for $50, so at least from our perspective, a limited license never was and never will be about money. It always has been—and always will be—about supporting our fans and the small publishers who want to support us right back.

A Limited License Protects Our Fans

Here why:

1. If someone doesn’t take the time to read and comprehend the website page clearly enough to understand that:

a. what’s been published on the web page is not the entirety of the limited license (despite the fact that it says, and I quote: “This is not the entirety of the limited license”)


b. that for full details they need to contact us (not the internet or a fan site or Twitter (again, despite the fact that it says right on the page, “if you are interested in pursuing a publication under our limited license and would like additional information about what it entails, please contact…))

then the chances are good that they will have a difficult time creating quality products in a field where reading comprehension and communication are vital. Our fans deserve quality products.

2. If someone can’t afford (or doesn’t think that Numenera is worth) the $50 licensing fee, then the chances are good that they might be better off pursuing something else that they love more or can afford. Our fans deserve products created by people who love and support the game.

3. If someone doesn’t understand the difference between licensing a game system (d20, for example) and a game setting (Numenera, for example), then this gives them a chance to learn the difference. (NOTE: We are not licensing our game system here. We’re licensing the Numenera setting. Your arguments about d20 OGL/OGC do not apply). Our fans deserve people who care enough to learn the difference.

4. If someone comes out on the Internet and says that the Numenera limited license is the worst thing they’ve ever read, that’s an absolutely fine opinion and one we won’t argue with. However, if someone comes out on the Internet and says that the Numenera limited license is the worst thing they’ve ever read and that they will never work with us because we’re awful, horrible, money-grubbing jerks who make shitty games, well, they’re right in at least one aspect: They will never work with us. Because why would we want to work with someone like that, ever? And more importantly: Why would we want to subject our fans to that kind of mentality? Our fans deserve a supportive, positive fan culture.

-Make amazing games that bring good things to people’s lives: company motto #1

-Only work with people who give a damn: company motto number #2

-Create a supportive, positive work and fan culture: company motto #3

-Give fans only our very best: company motto #4

A Limited License Supports Small & Starting Publishers

For the low, low cost of $50, you are getting the opportunity to get your foot in the door in a big way. It’s a low-risk way to get into the game industry. Not to mention get yourself some amazing publicity. If you are supportive of Numenera, are generally a nice person, and your product is awesome, we will probably talk about you. A lot. To everyone we know.

Case in point: Numenera fan Ryan Chaddock. He originally came to us a while back to ensure that his fan creations fit our fan-use policy. Then he made beautiful fan work! (You can see it here). When he approached us with a professional query recently to apply for a limited license, do you think we said yes? Of course we did. And then we talked about him publicly and often. Because he is awesome and he thinks Numenera is awesome and that is how you show support for the people who support you.

Another example is Michael Fienen who runs the wonderful fan site, The Ninth World. He came to us to make sure he was abiding by the fan use policies and then he created a great place for fan-created content. If he comes to us in the future to ask for a limited license on something, do you think we’ll support him? Hell yes we will. Ditto with the fans who are right now working on limited licenses for fiction anthologies, adventures and other support products.



A few other questions that people are asking:

1. Do I have to pay you $50 to put something on my blog? No. You do have to read and comply with our fan-use policy, though.

2. Why can’t I crowdfund? You can. And many have, including Torment: Tides of Numenera and Christopher West’s Numenera maps. However, you need negotiate a full license to do so.

3. Dear, Internet: What is the … ? No, please let me stop you right there. You should know better than to ask the Internet anything, especially about legal things or gaming things. Ask us. We’re the only ones who have the answers you seek in regards to this topic. The email address is right on the website.

4. How will you know when I’ve made $2000? We’ll know because you are awesome and honest and professional and we trust you with our whole hearts, and thus you will tell us that you’ve cracked that mythical number. And then we’ll celebrate your success and see where you want to go from there. (Hint: to the Big Time!).



In the end, is the limited license the right thing for you? Is it the right thing for Monte Cook Games and Numenera? Most importantly: Is it the right thing for fans?

At this point, only time will tell. But we hope the answer to all of those things turns out to be yes. And if it doesn’t? Then we already have 96 other ways of looking at it for the future.

~iadace~ with a side of kiss kiss bang bang, s.

Love What You Love

posted on: August 12, 2013
in: Blog

It’s been a rough week around here, for a whole lot of reasons. The big one was the loss of Monte’s dad, who passed away after a long illness. Instead of flying to London for Nine Worlds GeekFest, we drove to a wake and a funeral and said goodbye to a man who played a huge role in Monte’s life.

Those events have put everything else into a certain kind of perspective, as you might imagine. They make me feel softer and kinder toward others, but they also make me fiercer — woe to anyone who wants to take away something that I hold dear right now.

In a recent post, Monte talks about finding something that you love, and I feel like that’s the sentiment that feels closest to my own at the moment. It’s easy to tear things down–a life, a game, an action, someone’s quote. (To be clear: I don’t mean constructive critique or thoughtful discussions here; I mean hate, vitriol, knee-jerk ire).

It’s so much harder to love things. Because, of course, you might lose them. Someone might come along and tell you that you aren’t supposed to love that thing because it’s dumb or sexist or ridiculous and that you in turn are dumb or sexist or ridiculous for liking that thing. It’s hard to love something, because sometimes when you love something, it feels like you’re not doing anything to create change. It’s hard to love something because someone might come along and take it away from you. And then that thing you loved so truly, so openly, is ripped from you and the world feels like it’s going to end.

It’s easier to hate, because hate is hard and safe and secure. It builds a wall between you and the world and no one can ever get through it. You are impenetrable, unreachable, safe in your castle of righteous anger. Hate makes you feel like you’re making a difference, like you’re making a change for the better.

But I believe that it’s love–not hate–that changes the world. It’s kindness and thoughtful criticism and having a sense of humor about the horrible, horrible things that happen to all of us that moves us forward. It’s taking the risk to love something–or someone–so deeply that you are vulnerable.

Please love something today. Do it loudly and with fervor and with grand gestures, if that feels right. Drown out the hate, even if just for a few moments. Be a positive force in world, if you can.

Here is where I say thank you for all the positive forces in my world. Here is where I say I love you, with all the softness and vulnerability that I have in me. Here is where I say I forgive you and I’m sorry you’re scared and I understand your need to hold onto hate like a blanket. Here is where I say it’s okay to claw at me if it helps you feel better.

Here is where I say: Keep your hate if you must, but remember that it traps you immobile and scared in the corner, lashing out and destroying the very things that matter to you. Here is a hand, reaching. Here is a way out.

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

posted on: June 24, 2013
in: Rejoice

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 4.05.04 PM

My novel, Leather Bound, showed up in a cool place on Amazon UK! 

Last week’s six impossible things:

  1. The Numenera corebook went off to press. Holler. And breathe. And maybe celebrate. 
  2. We showed off the Numenera cover!
  3. I got some time off. I saw Man of Steel, read some books, played some RPGs and got killed in Don’t Starve.
  4. This essay in the Rumpus by Liz Prato made my lungs expand into breathlessness.
  5. This fucking dead-on beautiful piece by Amanda Palmer described my life and love in a way that no one ever has.
  6. I love you all. Thank you for everything you give to me, every day.

What impossible things did you believe in this week?

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

Tales from the Ninth World

posted on: June 20, 2013
in: Numenera


Tales from the Ninth World is now available! The collection features three new stories set in the Ninth World, as well as a sample from the Numenera corebook (which just went off to the printer two days ago).

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • The Smell of Lightning (by Monte Cook) explores one of the weird and wonderful places of the Ninth World. 
  • The Taste of Memory (by me) is a tale of addiction, love and loss, set in Kaparin, a city by the sea.
  • The Sound of a Beast (Monte and I wrote this together) is perhaps my favorite of the three, and is so full of weirdness that I wouldn’t know where to begin explaining it. As Ray Vallese says, it will show you why you should “always carry an umbrella while traveling in the far-flung future.”
  • A sample of the final Numenera corebook (Note: you’ll get three formats upon purchase; in order to preserve the beautiful formatting of the corebook, it’s only in the PDF version, so be sure to check it out).

To give you a glimpse, here are the openings of each story!

(The Smell of Lightning):

Faber awoke to the sounds of the castle growing again. He lay in his bed, listening to the creaking and moaning of metal and glass and materials he didn’t have a name for. The air grew colder, and he detected that strange odor again—like the smell of lightning, if there was such a thing. Pulling the blankets closer around himself, he closed his eyes tightly and tried to force himself back to sleep.

At breakfast the next morning, Faber sat at the grand table of polished culat, which glistened like gold. Moretta always kept it looking like the day it had arrived from the craftsmen in Westwood. His mother, Ladra, and his father, Naranial, had already finished their meal. His father glared at him from over the stack of books in front of him, but only for a moment. The scowl, the shaggy sideburns, and the wide, bald pate made his father look almost like an abhuman. An abhuman with a jeweled eyepatch. His father turned his attention back to the book he’d been reading. Still, a moment of his father’s one good eye studying him and finding nothing of approval was enough to make the young man’s heart sink.

(The Color of Memory):

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 side-stepped 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 sack that reeked of the deeps. Water splattered against the stones near her feet. Sighing, she shadowslipped sideways, but too late, the liquid marking the toes of her worn boots.

(The Sound of a Beast):

Since this morning, when I woke up with a damn caffa grub hanging off my neck, I’d been daydreaming about killing Palmer in his sleep. The only thing stopping me was I couldn’t figure out the best way to do it. Sometimes I favored the quick blade across his snoring throat. Other moments, I imagined drugging him and rolling him into the fire. Once in a while, I thought I might just throw him to the next creature that attacked us in the dark. Mostly, though, I dreamed of transforming in the shadow of night and dragging him off to the wilds with my claws in the tender bits of his belly.


Hope you enjoy your visit to the Ninth World. Bring an umbrella and your knowledge of the weird, and you should be just fine.

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.



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