In this first episode of series 28, we welcome Darcy Ross, who is the co-host of the Cypher Speak podcast from the Misdirected Mark Network as well as the Community Relations Coordinator for Monte Cook Games, as we sit down to discuss Numenera, a Science Fantasy RPG. We’ll start building our characters this episode, too, so get ready to start meeting some amazing people in this amazingly unique setting!
In this first episode of series 28, we welcome Darcy Ross, who is the co-host of the Cypher Speak podcast from the Misdirected Mark Network as well as the Community Relations Coordinator for Monte Cook Games, as we sit down to discuss Numenera, a Science Fantasy RPG. We’ll start building our characters this episode, too, so get ready to start meeting some amazing people in this amazingly unique setting!
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Darcy Ross @DarcyLRoss
Monte Cook Games: @MonteCookGames
Cypher Speak Podcast:
Numenera: Discovery & Destiny
Numenera: Starter Set
Ashes of the Sea Free Quickstart Rules
Character Creation Cast:
Ryan Boelter 0:00
Welcome to the first episode of series 28 everyone. This series we are finally covering a game that we've been wanting to cover since before we actually started the podcast. numenera. And we're very, very pleased that we got to do this series with none other than Darcy Ross v. Darcy Rafi Darcy Ross. Yes. But before we get into learning all about this game and a bit about Darcy, we have some actual announcements this time
Amelia Antrim 0:32
we do. First up, we hope that you are all able to utilize your extra time well with our break last week. We both really needed extra time off and appreciate your patience as we work to stay healthy and not burned out. This month will be the same. We don't have an evolution cast episode planned for the end of the month. Also, June has five Mondays so you'll likely have a two week break there. Well, we do our one normal game per month cadence. If that changes at all, we'll definitely let you know in one of these cold opens or on Twitter. But for now, everybody take care of yourselves. And we will all get through this together.
Ryan Boelter 1:14
Yeah, absolutely. A times are wild. And goodness. Yeah, yeah. Well in more immediate news, and in conjunction with recording with Darcy, who happens to work at money cook games, we are pleased to announce that we have a special promotional code that you'll actually be able to enter at Monte cook games website to get $5 off your order. So if you use the code, CCC five off, that's all lowercase and the number five, you'll be able to take a solid $5 off your order. And if you act quickly enough, as of the time of this episode is releasing. They currently have a 50% Off promotion for the luminaire starter kit, as well as any of the no thank you evil products. So that actually means you can get a starter kit for a little over five bucks, which is pretty sweet.
Amelia Antrim 2:12
Yeah, it's a good deal. Mm hmm. We'll put that promotional code in our episode notes too. for everybody. You can take a look there.
Ryan Boelter 2:19
Amelia Antrim 2:21
other good things, reviews,
Ryan Boelter 2:23
Amelia Antrim 2:24
reviews. We love reading reviews. If you want to leave us a rating or review on Apple podcasts, pod chaser Facebook. Anywhere you can leave reviews for podcasts, please do that. And we will read it like this one from a nukem which is on pod chaser. A unique podcast all about exploring how to make and play characters and all sorts of RPGs great hosts who are charming and positive. My favorite thing is how they discover themes and similarities and character creation in wildly different systems. Great interviews with designers. I'm also impressed how they try to make the content useful for anyone playing RPG is not just players of that specific game. So good.
Ryan Boelter 3:10
Well, thank you so much. Thank you. Yeah, that was nice. Nice. All right. Well, with that out of the way, let's get on with the episode.
Unknown Speaker 3:21
Amelia Antrim 3:55
Welcome to Character Creation Cast, a show where we discuss and create characters. The best part of role playing games with guests using their favorite systems. I'm one of your hosts Amelia. And in this episode, my co host Ryan and I welcome Darcy Ross to discuss numenera a science fantasy role playing game from Monty cook games. Welcome to
Ryan Boelter 4:14
Character Creation Cast Darcy, we're really excited that you could be here.
Darcy Ross 4:17
I'm so happy to be here talking about my favorite RPG of all time, and the one thing and so this is going to be a delight. Thank you so much.
Amelia Antrim 4:28
Oh, let's start by introducing you to our audience. Do you want to tell us a little bit more about yourself and any projects you're involved in?
Darcy Ross 4:34
Absolutely. So I'm Darcy Ross, my pronouns are she her? And I think if I had a character sentence as we'll be building in today's episode, I would be a Darcy is an enthusiastic babbler who
Darcy Ross 4:52
snail ologists hard. So my I was a snail biologist for a long time. slash gamer and that's video games and role playing games and over time I discovered numenera discovered that I loved jamming and I loved this industry as a whole. So I did lots of jamming for cons and game stores and worked with Contessa to support other marginalized gamers and and then from my grad school in down in the snail labs, I got hired by Monte cook games my the company that makes my favorite game and have been there for the last few years. So I've dabbled in other parts of the industry. I've worked with the one shot network for a woman with hollow eyes, GM to that stream. I have my own podcast cipher speak that's been on hiatus for a while on the misdirected Mark network. And yeah, I've been having a ton of fun getting to help make games and grow the community for Monica games over the last few years, so it's been exciting. It was awesome.
Ryan Boelter 5:57
Yeah. All right. Well, Let's go ahead and get into this. And we're gonna start by discussing what this game is all about. Hmm, what's in a game? All right. So can you tell us a bit about numenera? What what's the quick elevator pitch for this game?
Darcy Ross 6:14
So, a billion years in the future, nine worlds. Eight worlds have risen and fallen, risen to enormous technological prowess, rearranged the planets in the galaxy seeded the earth with absolutely tiny microscopic little machines called nanites. There are floating mandalas around they've discovered space travel and time travel and all manner of amazing science wonders. But for one reason or another, all of these eight worlds have fallen. And so you play humans on our Earth, a billion years in the future on the bones of these ancient civilizations. And so you are people who are interacting with technology And strange wonders that you can't quite understand because you just, it's just the past is so mysterious, but also wondrous. So it's a game a lot about discovery and exploration, about strange intersections of Science and Technology about weird creatures and mysterious effects of ancient technology so advanced as to seem like magic.
Ryan Boelter 7:25
I love that.
Amelia Antrim 7:27
Yeah, there's so like, where do you even start with that?
Darcy Ross 7:31
But it's big, but there's lots of room for very small stories. And I think that's what warms my heart a lot.
Amelia Antrim 7:38
Do you want to tell us what sort of things we need to play this game?
Darcy Ross 7:41
Absolutely. So you just need a there's a couple in terms of like books or what the the core rule set comes in. There's a couple of options which I really appreciate. ashes of the sea is a free PDF you can find on our website and that has the Quick Start. So that'll get you Some pre generated characters tell you a little about what characters are about having an adventure to play through and some other resources to learn how to just jump in with both feet and try out numenera if you want to take a step up from that there's the numenera starter set. And so that has some more pretty printed pre gens and things has a like a longer booklet with setting information again, and adventure and pre gens and maps and stuff really neat. And then if you want to, as we are doing in this episode, fully make characters you need either the beautiful orange original numenera core book that Amelia has, or the the newer like as of last two years, two core books set numenera discovery and numenera destiny. So these were so numenera Destiny basically takes the original luminaire experience and adds to it so it's like not a new addition it's all compatible. But numenera destiny is sort of the same Second part of the pitch of numenera, which is, so your explorers discovering amazing, wild stuff. Having your total Mind blown all day long over these cool technologies we're creatures. But how do we make the ninth world worthy of the title? How do we build a better future with the amazing wonders of the past? And so it's a lot about community building and like crafting and like, like really like working with people to create a better future and it makes me like really weepy. Anytime I talk about it. It's very cool.
Amelia Antrim 9:32
But kind of thing that we need right now. Yeah.
Darcy Ross 9:34
But technically, but beyond the buck are the rules. What you need is a D 20, a D six, and occasionally some percentiles and imagination.
Ryan Boelter 9:48
Awesome. So what type of stories and themes is numenera? meant to explore?
Darcy Ross 9:52
Yeah, good question. I, you know, I'm a biologist. So I think I'm sure I bring a lot of my own bias to the game and my own worldview. But numenera is very much a game about like discovery and exploration. And so I think a lot about modern day and past like explorers and naturalist people who are curious about the world around them, and go out, describing it and trying to understand it and seeking new information. And so it's it's very much like go out and explore cool thing. And then of course, there are dangers when you're going out and exploring and so it's about surviving and learning to carve out safety and community and learning to thrive in a place that might be kind of hostile or at least mysterious and unintelligible to you. And then there's a lot about this that lets you play very smaller stories, of course that you could do in any RPG, but there's a lot of character creation will see that kind of points you towards the other characters. And so there's some of these smaller stories like, you know, I have a weird robot Are and I don't know where it came from maybe I want to discover where that came from, or I'm trying to find my last sister or things like that, right.
Unknown Speaker 11:11
Amelia Antrim 11:12
So what are characters doing in this game? When we sit down to play? Like, what what are we doing?
Darcy Ross 11:18
Yeah, great question. You will probably be doing things like
Darcy Ross 11:25
so exploring, like going out and trying to maybe perceive what's beyond that hill trying to figure out how to get in this strange portal, you know, trying to get to different places or uncover or open or, you know, ascertain. So there's that sort of element of it. There's a lot of social options, right? Are you trying to convince someone bribe someone trying to get access to the alien priest so that you can learn some dark secret of the past and there's of course combat and sort of other like physical trials you might have against other entities or against nature itself, right, trying to run really fast through the iron wind that is a swirling swarm of ancient nanites that have gone haywire and are repurposing any material it touches along the way. So you might be, you know, diving and running around. So there's sort of, I would say, those are the kind of the three main pillars that I think about exploration social and like combat slash fighting the environment.
Ryan Boelter 12:36
So there is a lot that's unique about, you know, monera, what would you say is one of the most unique things about Newman Newman era?
Darcy Ross 12:44
Yeah, good question. Uh, the setting is really cool and rich. But I think one of the things that drew me You know, there are a lot of great settings out there. And I think what one of the things that really captured me for numenera is the kind of player agency options really appealing To me, so this is a little bit mechanical, but it's it's also narrative. And so what I mean by that is in numenera, if you are running away from some, you know, babbling dog things with big snail shells on their back, okay, so you're being chased down by these horrible snail dogs. You know, I want to go climb that cliff and get out of their way, right. So this is a really tense, cool traumatically interesting moment, I might want to do better at my climate task in this moment than I do when there's no dogs after me. And so what I can do is spend effort, I can spend some points from a pool to try harder, and that brings the difficulty of the task down. And so I really like that you get these chances to decide kind of narratively, what matters more to you. When does success matter more to you as a character and as a player. There's also XP for rerolls. So again, if the dice are just not in your favor, sometimes you can still as a player, to shape the the narrative that you want to see for your character, you have a little more control that way. And they've sort of expanded that even in the numenera discovering destiny with the addition of player intrusions. So GM intrusions are one of my absolute favorite things of this game. It's I as a GM will bribe you, by complicating your life, I will offer a complication and bribe you with two XP and you can accept my bribery and take an XP and give one to a friend and have some dramatically interesting, maybe dangerous complication. Or you can reject me so you have some choice there too. But with player intrusions, you can spend XP and say, you know, maybe I'm a character that's very much about, like, being a social person. I'm very like, I'm a leader, I really sweet people up and I know lots of people. So I could spend an XP as a player and say, Oh my gosh, I know, I know, a great contact in this town. And so again, it's a way that numenera has put some narrative control and agency into players hands in ways that I think work really well for me personally,
Ryan Boelter 15:06
it's very nice yeah I know there's a few people that I've seen use like plot points and stuff like that yeah exactly in their games adding that to like yeah and whatnot and having that baked into the system it's pretty sweet.
Darcy Ross 15:19
It is and I when I play other systems, it's perfect. You know, I enjoy many systems I'm polyamorous but I do miss when I don't have some kind of player lever like that. Narrative options for myself.
Amelia Antrim 15:32
Yeah, there's people like me that always be like, yes, please mess it up for
Darcy Ross 15:39
fun. Yeah. Because you get the XP like, I found that like, I love gaming with new players. And like, I think that I think that like the XP GM intrusion mechanic really like teaches people to look forward to complications are fun, that stuff happening to your character can be really fun. And so I love getting set up. I love getting to, like say something really dangerous and scary and have players light up because they're excited or I hold the two XP up and they're like, excited because there's the reward of XP and also like titillated because like, what is Darcy gonna do? I don't know. I just really love that mechanic.
Amelia Antrim 16:16
I feel like games are always more fun as, as things get complicated. Yeah, actors like I always love when we make characters to usually picking disadvantages and stuff is one of my favorite things because I feel like that's when characters really come to life. You love mechanics that reward that, like,
Unknown Speaker 16:33
Amelia Antrim 16:38
Can you tell us a little bit more about the history of this game, how it came about the different additions, things like that?
Darcy Ross 16:43
Yeah, absolutely. So um, I first heard about numenera.
Darcy Ross 16:50
Through the video game that was being made shortly after the release of the original core book or shortly before they announced it before the release of the original core book. What I had heard was Monte cook you know of playing scape fame to me and d&d third edition designer. Playing scape is a really weird setting that's very beloved cool art, very, very strange stuff. And I knew Monte cook from that second edition setting. He's also famous for designing third edition d&d and many other things. And so I heard Monte cook mumble mumble science fantasy mumble mumble video game and I was like, Oh my gosh, sign me up. And then I was like, I saw the fine print, you know, and the forthcoming RPG like tabletop, I was like, oh, my goodness, Monte cook is doing a weird, his own setting RPG I was like, sign me up. So I got into a very coveted slot of a Gen Con adventure of numenera the year released and it totally swept me away. So the story was Monte cook, you know in the early days of Kickstarter is, you know, thinking about his own creations that he wants to make outside of the d&d brand, and I guess has had the setting he's been thinking about these mechanics he's been thinking about for a long time and decides to kickstart this project. It gets, he thought it was going to be like a little black and white book, just a cute little one off project. numenera just make it and move on with his life. But it got the Kickstarter got enormous, lots people very excited. The book got bigger and more colorful and had money for beautiful art and a whole line of books. And so he's shortly after realized he had to start a company because it got way too big for one person to do. I think everyone in this room is probably has had the experience of biting off more than you can chew ourselves. And so yeah, so the sort of numenera line was born and watch cook games was born. And since then, Monica Games has made the strange it's made other games that built on the cipher system, the underlying mechanics of numenera they sort of realized how it had legs beyond the original setting that he built. So lots of stuff has happened since then. But in 2018, we came out with numenera discovery and destiny, which basically took the numenera core book, that beautiful orange one, and just added some more options to it sort of updated some language around rules just to clarify things and give additional options as we saw how people played and then gave a whole other book of huge options, rules, options, characters options for numeric destiny, which lets you if you decide to engage in this sort of community building crafting long term play that is really attractive to some people, but you know, is sort of opt in as far as numenera goes, you can still play with the orange book. We're not we didn't release any of the other products like the cool best URIs and adventures because the rules are all the still the same. So, yeah, I think that's kind of how it came about. And then I got to be community manager and I've had a total blast.
Ryan Boelter 20:07
That's awesome. Yeah, I would have thought that cipher system had come first. That's really interesting that numenera Yeah, was the originator.
Darcy Ross 20:14
Yeah, I mean, it is such a the core engine is so you know, like you didn't have to change anything to to keep that core engine the same. So I think it is really a blessing that it worked out. It was just so portable to so many other settings. And yeah, I've even played like I had a friend run a like slice of life kind of mundane adventure, basically like sitcom style, adventuring, using the cipher system as sort of a really weird take that engine to a very, very different kind of experience and it totally still scans.
Ryan Boelter 20:49
Yeah, it's interesting because I when, when I was introduced to a cipher system outside of numenera, it was a 12 player. Time hopping ROM. And we were going between fighting dinosaurs and, and trying to figure out what's going on with this, this weird thing that's going on and I'm like, this is wild and I love it.
Amelia Antrim 21:14
Like my only experience with cyber system has been playing no thank you evil with kids. Yeah. So like, I mean, obviously that's like a easy version of it, but like we played that last week too. And like is my sister's like second role playing games or something? And she, she invented this Faberge egg Museum, like amazing. It was amazing. She was a bubble magician, I think Oh,
Darcy Ross 21:40
yeah. Like no thank you evil you make a character sentence to I'm a blank blank blank. So I'm a bubble magician. with anxiety that was
Amelia Antrim 21:50
March the bubble magician with anxiety. Oh, it was very good.
Ryan Boelter 21:56
That's amazing. All right. Well, before we get into To character creation, there's probably some basic terms and concepts that we probably need to go over.
Darcy Ross 22:06
Yeah, let's jump into them. So as I said before, you're going to be building your a character sentence. So you might be I'm a stealthy jack who talks to machines might be a character sentence. So you're gonna have a, you know, adjective noun who verbs a descriptor type and focus. And we'll kind of dive into that your descriptor is basically a jumping off point for roleplay. It doesn't affect your character mechanically that much, but it just kind of gives you a direction to feel out the personality of the character. Your type is what's most analogous to like a Dungeons and Dragons character class. So it's like, what general suite of abilities do you have? You know, are you a nano who manipulates the nanites of the world to do very, very strange, technological or magical abilities? Do you kind of cast spells in some way? Are you a jack jack of all trades kind of sneaky, roguish type you're very like, can be good at different things on different days are you a glaze who's you know really good at maybe wielding weapons or getting through environmental dangers climbing cliffs, maybe you're a dancer maybe you're very control your body in other ways other than just being a big brutish type and with the three new character types in numenera Destiny are arcus right in clave our guests are, you know, the social leaders or right is person who crafts numenera and tries to understand the ancient technology of the past, collectively called numenera. And I think I said the wrong word, but a Delve is a spelunking type. You know your your Lara Croft and your Indiana Jones are delves probably, right. So that's your type and your focus is something really weird and special that you do like better than anyone else. So Maybe you speak with machines, you have this strange connection to machines all over the place. Maybe you you know, phase through reality, maybe you wield two weapons at once, which seems mundane, but actually you are like the best person who has ever wielded two weapons at once. So that's your character sentence. I'm going to go over a couple other quick things. You'll be assigning points to pools is sort of one of your major stats that you have to sort of decide as as you're building a character. So your pools are might speed and intellect and you have some number of points in them. You're going to be spending from these different pools to power some of your abilities and also to try harder or spend effort. So that's what I'm talking about when you really want to climb that cliff through Cliff real fast so those snail dogs don't get you. You might want to spend some points from your might pool to try out harder to succeed in this moment. Your pool points also add act as your health. So if you are spending points all day long, you're going to exhaust yourself. So there's sort of a balancing act you have to do. Some other choices you'll be making are things like skills, so skills ease a task that you might be doing. And there's no defined list of skills. So you sort of work with your GM to pick skills between underwater basket weaving and doing stuff, you kind of want somewhere in between those two extremes and like, you know, social pleasant social interactions or stealth or
Darcy Ross 25:40
in one game, Iran, someone took a lot of skills in doors. So we had a lot of like magical portal kind of nonsense and they took their door skill, or I had a friend take a circus skill, they've got circus acts, a thing they're trained in. It's very fun and it basically applies To lower the difficulty of any task you might do related to it. And so there's lots of cool conversation about does my you know, does my circus ability apply here, wink wink. That's a delightful part of the game. So the basic rolling mechanic is going to be things in the world have a chance to have a chance of failure have a difficulty to them, that might be from zero to 10 level zero difficulty is going to be automatic success. A level one, you'll want to roll a three or higher on a D 20. a level two, you'll want to roll a six or higher on a D 20. And so on. So a level 10 you'll have to roll a 30 or higher on a D 20. Which is technically impossible, but not if you are, you know, trained and you're spending efforts and you've got some tools that help you make this easier to succeed up. So whenever we're talking about skills or possibly effort, that's your sort of manipulating the difficulty and making things easier. for yourself, you'll get XP for leveling up. But maybe we'll save that for the leveling up section. And you'll have a suite of weird abilities. So these are things that are really interesting and compared to other games because numenera doesn't really in the cipher system doesn't try to be a balanced game. And so lots of your abilities are just strange exceptions to the rules, right? They're very narrative carve outs. And so there's no formula for what your ability might be your ability. If you are someone who phases through reality, you might have a couple low level abilities that let you spend an intellect and, you know, slowly phase through a wall or become unharmed. You might have an ability that lets you scan a piece of numenera an ancient piece of tech and it will let you sort of scan it, you know, foot cube or something, and it tells you the level of a thing so like how hard is that loc, or it tells you, you know the strange nature of it or you know that if you whistle a particular tune that mechanical songbird over there will lead you to the cache of ancient treasures that you seek. So there's very strange abilities that you'll be getting from your focus and your type. And we'll jot down on your character sheet when we get there.
Amelia Antrim 28:23
That's exciting. Yeah. I love I love like the openness of this.
Darcy Ross 28:27
Yeah, it's very flexible, but it's also like lots of menu options for you. So it's not too overwhelming for me personally, you know, you can make up stuff as you like, there's also lots of like, guidance and like, Oh my gosh, you know, I just came from a day of work. I just need to like, look at some options on the sheet. Right?
Darcy Ross 28:45
When I'm stuck, has lots of inspiration for me. Yeah,
Amelia Antrim 28:49
that's a hard part of like, making up your own stuff, too, is like you can do anything. And I'm like that title, many things. Like
Unknown Speaker 28:57
Yeah, give me a list of options that I have.
Ryan Boelter 29:01
I love that and I love being having a list that you can take and get inspiration from and still make your own thing.
Amelia Antrim 29:09
Yeah, that's what we did with our last descent to the midnight character to we're like, here's the list of options or pick none. Yeah. Oh, that's great.
Darcy Ross 29:18
I love playbooks are great for that, too. All right. Got lots of stuff to choose from but also veer off the path.
Ryan Boelter 29:25
Lastly, well, are we ready to make some people?
Amelia Antrim 29:29
I'm so ready.
Unknown Speaker 29:30
Yes. All right. Let's make some people. Excellent. Let's make some people. I'm gonna grab my books, because
Amelia Antrim 29:38
the books. Yeah, I have a book.
Darcy Ross 29:41
Yeah, that that will be perfect. Um, I'm trying to remember if this character creation walkthrough is in the orange book, it is definitely in the PDF of the character sheets if you want to check it out. So there's basically a little like, guide guide for you to sort of walk through all the steps that it takes to do character creep. And that's a handout in the slipcase set for the human error discovery and destiny. And it's also in the free downloadable PDF
Amelia Antrim 30:07
of the character sheets. Yeah, we have that. Yeah. Okay drive here. All right,
Ryan Boelter 30:12
that I'm looking for destiny. Right.
Darcy Ross 30:16
You should look for discovery. Oh, discovery. Yeah, the basic character creation rules are in discovery. That's all
Ryan Boelter 30:22
I have the Ron thing open. Oh, no, that's okay. I got the bucks. So I'm fine. Hey, this thing is I can just say that the book is gorgeous.
Darcy Ross 30:34
It is so gorgeous. When I first got it. It basically I played numenera at Gen Con. And then I fell deeply over head over heels in love and decided well, no one's going to just like, let me force them to run this for me. And so I guess I have to GM now and so I just took that orange book and like this, you know, it's a big hot, you know, chunky book and the actual core rules are very, very short and really quick and so lots of what's in there is like, rich setting material and beautiful art and maps and just like you know steeps you in the very particular flavor of weird that numenera is Yeah,
Amelia Antrim 31:15
I think okay, so like I bought this book Yes. And it still has like map like all folded up into
Unknown Speaker 31:22
Amelia Antrim 31:24
Fight it like it's like it's never been somebody didn't even the corners are still nice on this somebody did not give this game a chance
Darcy Ross 31:32
Amelia Antrim 31:34
Ryan Boelter 31:36
I got something to say. I never noticed that in the back. There's like this giant thing back here.
Darcy Ross 31:43
There's a giant map in the back of both of our books and both of the numenera destiny and discovery Oh my god, maybe double sided. It is.
Unknown Speaker 31:52
But I'm looking at the map. Look at this thing.
Darcy Ross 31:55
Yeah, it's huge. And like our best theories have really cool maps, too. Like with big beautiful, like silhouettes like a silhouette chart to like compare the gargantuan different size differences of all these creatures. Oh, it's extremely cute as a biologist again, it's like yes, give me the best era map
Ryan Boelter 32:17
Yeah, this scheme is this is just gorgeous like right off the bat so I'm I'm excited to see what sort of characters we can make out of this.
Darcy Ross 32:26
Yeah, I'm often where I start is like either kind of a focus or a type. So because you know your type is closest to like class. It's like what you're going to be doing day to day bread and butter. So there's nano jackin glaze in numenera discovery and in the original core book, and then there is the arcus right and delve. So do either of you have any like leanings as to whether you want to be kind of like social or whether you want to be Spelunky fighty. You know, like crafty.
Darcy Ross 33:02
Any leanings, and you can also just like look through the folk I, I find and they're very evocative, like,
Darcy Ross 33:09
you know, explorers yesterday is a focus. dances with dark matter sees beyond touches the sky so lots of those can kind of inspire a character concept for me.
Ryan Boelter 33:22
Interesting lately looking through the types, um, just a lot of interesting stuff here.
Darcy Ross 33:30
I know I know it, it is kind of that that is one of you know, pre gens are helpful for your first time I think you inherit just because it's hard to know, like, what you might want to play, but I don't know. I also feel like it's hard for me to know what I want to play in any game. This is sort of it's the the burden of character creation is like you only have to make some decisions.
Amelia Antrim 33:52
Yeah, I know. I do okay, on the show like when it comes to like I recently started playing in a campaign game though, and I I was like, paralyzed with Oh, my God, I'm like, this matters. Yes. And I'm like so we make not that it doesn't matter when we make it for the show, but like, we never have to play them so I don't have to deal with any of the consequences of my actions. Exactly.
Darcy Ross 34:12
You know, that is kind of why I like jamming more is because I create an MPC and they're probably gone by next session. I don't have to deal with like, yet the consequences of my actions. And I often I really want to dive into James tomatoes, like character backstory book. Yeah. And try that sometime. Because I think I really get paralyzed with like, the, you know, how is this character? How am I going to bring this character to life over multiple sessions, like I find that part of the sort of design really difficult and like, stressful, so I think that book might help me Give me some tools for like, breaking it down and not feeling so stressed by the infinite possibilities right. You know, writing a character.
Ryan Boelter 34:56
Oh, I see. So destiny As a couple extra types.
Unknown Speaker 35:02
Amelia Antrim 35:05
I think I'm gonna go with nano.
Ryan Boelter 35:09
I kind of want to go read Delve. Ooh. Because you said, Lara Croft and drums style. Yeah, that sounds pretty darn sweet.
Unknown Speaker 35:23
Darcy Ross 35:25
And I will say that, like, a human era doesn't try to be balanced. And so even if you have a party of six Nanos, they can all feel really different. And, and you're not going to, you know, shoot yourself in the foot or anything. But especially for it since we're trying to show the breadth of characters. I think it's good to have two different types. Yeah. Cool. So if you've picked your type, you can sort of write that in, in your character sentence at the top of the character sheet. All right. And then I would suggest, you know, going to look at the guy next. So pick a you know, scroll through some folk. I that look interesting to you. Maybe glance over what the abilities they give you are and there's some cool flavor text too. So,
Ryan Boelter 36:09
all right, we got Adele. And now what about yourself? Darcy?
Unknown Speaker 36:15
Oh, I get to make one don't Yes, you do. Yeah, I forgot.
Amelia Antrim 36:19
You have to make a decision.
Ryan Boelter 36:33
I mean, you literally could take a pre jam and pretend if you really wanted to,
Unknown Speaker 36:37
I couldn't. I couldn't hurt your audience like
Darcy Ross 36:44
okay, I think I'm gonna pick a right because I haven't gotten to play with these characters yet and I have hoped that someday I will be able to. So a right is someone who specializes in studying the numenera you know, ciphers and artifacts of the ancient world. And trying to tinker with them and create new things based on them, you know, trying to like, although we can never fully understand the ancient technology of the past, maybe we can kind of hack together some cool stuff from it or understand little pieces of it well enough to kind of create new effects for ourselves. I hope you write
Unknown Speaker 37:22
nice. Wow, these are descriptive.
Ryan Boelter 37:26
Okay, yeah. Well, I've got I've got both both open. There's a couple that are kind of standing out to me right now. But I want to read through the list before I make a decision. Yeah, legit. Right now. I the two that really stood out to me right away. Well, this moves like a cat. Yeah. Or dances with dark matter.
Unknown Speaker 37:48
Ah, so fun.
Ryan Boelter 37:51
Yeah, this is this is wild.
Darcy Ross 37:54
Yeah. One thing I tend to think about when I'm creating a character is like, you can kind of With the tight end focus, you can kind of like lean into a character niche and be like, Okay, my focus really makes me an even better type, right? Or like those two work together really well and they're like, very much doing similar kinds of things. Or you can kind of use the focus to like, branch out and have a very different kind of thing. So like, you know, if Nanos, are the Wizards of numenera like, you know, maybe you want to be a really fighty type, but you want like some weird kind of magic key nonsense as well. So maybe you pick a focus that gives you something that kind of gives you spell ish abilities, right? Like that could be bares a halo a flame is sort of one halo of fire
Ryan Boelter 38:45
fights with panache. Like Yeah,
Darcy Ross 38:48
I know. It's really fun. fighter panache is
Ryan Boelter 38:50
great. And I saw there was a explorer start places which would probably be really good for Delve Delve. Yeah, but that seems too predictable.
Darcy Ross 39:03
Yeah, I know. This is always the decision. I'm like, Okay, do I do I want to match or buck against the sort of matching?
Amelia Antrim 39:11
I kind of want to go with howls at the moon? Oh,
Darcy Ross 39:14
yay. Oh my gosh, I love that focus. The fashionable podcast folk had a numenera long shot, long running campaign. And they had a lot of fun with. I think it was done anyway, with a house of the moon character. And then you know, if you're kind of, like cancer, p driven, you know, what creature is that you turn into is always a big question. You can make one up, you can pick one of the weird ones from the book. Pretty fun. I'm noodling about crafts illusions because like, I just love that nonsense, sort of deceit and being able to speak through stuff with you know, so the ability that my tier one focus would give me So you always start with a focus with the first tier abilities unlocked. And then later on as you advance your character, you can spend XP level up and get access to more of your focus abilities. I also really like being a skill monkey. So when you first start out in numenera, you get skills from your like type or focus or descriptor. But, you know, you might pick options that don't give you a lot of skills, and that's okay. But as you level up later on, you can always like, you're going to be adding skills that you make up as you like, and you can sort of lean more into skills later as you decide to spend your XP in that. So people like I find that players tend to gravitate differentially toward like, ooh, do I want lots of abilities? Or do I want lots of stuff like the ability to carry ciphers? Or do I want lots of skills, so I'm just like really good at all kinds of different tasks. And I think all of those are valid and Supported by the system. So whatever your heart desires,
Ryan Boelter 41:03
so many good options. Oh my god.
Unknown Speaker 41:07
Yeah, I'm gonna do calf solutions.
Ryan Boelter 41:09
All right, I'm going to go with loose like a cat.
Darcy Ross 41:14
Cool. So you're Adele who moves like a cat? Yeah. Then after that, you want to pick a descriptor. So are you a, you know, tough Swift, rugged,
Darcy Ross 41:28
confident committed, magnificent, articulate, mettlesome obsessed. Delve, who moves like a cat? Yeah, so your descriptor will give you some role playing jumping off points, probably some skills or some extras to your pool, to your different pools and maybe some abilities. Hmm,
Ryan Boelter 41:49
yeah. Let's see. I see there's a there's a list of these as well, that you can choose from if you like.
Darcy Ross 41:56
Yep. So all of these are sort of on the menu.
Darcy Ross 42:01
are not hard to create either if you if you get sick of these, although I've been playing numenera for many years, we have not gotten sick of the options. So
Darcy Ross 42:11
I'm kind of thinking about a nurturing right to craft solutions. Kind of a, I was thinking kind of more like mad scientist type for a while but like I kind of like maybe like the, I can't think of a good character example. But in my head, it's like, I feel like uncle iro and like avatar is very nurturing. Just like imagine kind of an uncle arrow type like, you know, sitting you down after a long day of adventuring and bringing you a tea with some weird properties in it.
Unknown Speaker 42:40
Strange nanite infuse tea.
Amelia Antrim 42:46
Have a Jamelia? Yeah, I'm thinking I'm gonna go with prepared.
Unknown Speaker 42:50
Oh, that's a good one.
Ryan Boelter 42:52
I'm gonna go with serene. I don't have anything in mind yet, but um I think I'm just going to piece the puzzle together and see what comes out.
Darcy Ross 43:04
Yeah, that's great. That's a great way to do it. So you're a serene Delve, who moves like a cat. Mm hmm. And Amelia is a prepared nanao. I am a nurturing, right? Who craft solutions, allusions.
Ryan Boelter 43:20
Cool. So there's, there's a lot more to these three items that you're choosing than I had originally assumed.
Darcy Ross 43:31
Yeah, it takes a minute to go through all of it, especially your type, you get some options within it, right? So you'll start with some starting points in your pools, and then you'll get to distribute some extra points where you wish, but then you need to pick your kind of starting abilities. And so, yeah, as I go over to my right, I think it's easiest to start with the type just like you did with the choice is you sort of write it all out in your character sheet.
Ryan Boelter 43:57
Okay, so I would go to delve Mm hmm. Where are you?
Amelia Antrim 44:04
Okay, so we're stack polls and then more to spend in between. Yes. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 44:12
Should we walk through tight together? If we could?
Ryan Boelter 44:15
Yes. I don't know what I'm looking at. Yes.
Darcy Ross 44:19
So when you go to like first tier rights or for you first tier Dells and first tier Nanos, for Amelia, it'll kind of walk you through what you need to fill out on your character sheet. Also, all of our effort is one. That means that if you for any given role, you can spend a maximum of one level of effort on it so you can bring its difficulty down by a level easing it, which means you have to roll three points lower on a D 20, basically, so you'll level difficulty. One tasks that you spend effort on will become automatic successes. So later on, you'll be able to spend more effort on a given role you can, you know, really hit those difficulties. 10 dice rolls where you need to hit a 30. You can bring those down by a bunch of levels. But for now our effort is one. And so there should be a spot on your character sheet where you can just fill in one.
Darcy Ross 45:12
Then it goes kind of through
Darcy Ross 45:15
what your edge is. So I am an inventor and so I have an intellect edge of one. So edge is basically an ongoing discount, you get to a certain pool. So Nanos. And rights are very, like thinkI people. You know, we spend our days doing very thinkI things. And so we're not going to like wear out our brains, we're used to it, we're sort of trained to do it. And so spending from our pool costs us less. So it's like a fighter right? Like someone who's trained someone who's like a fighter for their day job, you know, they're a glaze, they're swinging swords around all day. They can do their basic swing all day long and it won't wear them out because they've built the sort of stuff structure for that not to wear them out. They'll still get worn out if they do their big huge swings or they're you know leaping across the chasm. But for basic stuff, it just doesn't tire them out as fast as it would tire say Darcy out so your edge is going to be a discount to any spend you do from that pool. So some of your abilities might cost one intellect point if you have an intellect edge of one they're free to roam all day long. Pretty cool right? So I have an intellect edge of one. And you're Delve Do you have a choice of your edge
Ryan Boelter 46:32
I have an intellect edge of one a speed edge of one and he might edge of 00 you
Darcy Ross 46:38
get two very cool. That's awesome.
Amelia Antrim 46:40
Nice. I just haven't intellect edge of
Darcy Ross 46:42
one. Nice meeting. Cool. Well for Adele, if you've got to be quick on your feet and click on your mind, I guess makes sense. Yeah. So cipher use is the next thing your type tells you. So this is about you know, when you're wandering around the world of numenera there's a strange Technology all over the place, and you can try to use it for yourself, you might not understand how it's supposed to be used, you might not understand, you know how dangerous it is, or like, you know how to use it perfectly. And so ciphers are both very useful and dangerous. You know, I think about like, you might go spelunking down in some ancient facility and like, pull out like a spark plug kind of thing. And like, you've realized that if you put two of the wires together, you can create a bomb. Right? That's the sort of thing a cipher is, although sometimes they're very odd. And sometimes they're kind of more mundane. So ciphers are how many your cipher use limit is about how many you can safely carry together. So our nano and maybe our Delve are probably going to be better than, than some other folks at it. they've, they've experienced more ciphers, they know how to like shield them from each other. They know how to be more careful around these dangerous items. So as a right, I play around with numenera All the time. So I actually have a cipher use limit of one. Sorry, of three. Okay, so I can carry three ciphers safely at any one time. Um, these are kind of like one shot items. And so you kind of want to be moving through them often enough anyway. But if you find like a really good stash somewhere, you can take beyond your cipher limit, you just start to roll on a random table of like things that go wrong, which is pretty fun.
Amelia Antrim 48:28
So picking up more than three minutes.
Ryan Boelter 48:31
Okay, good. Good.
Darcy Ross 48:33
Yeah, so our nano definitely has three. What about you delve? I've got to, you've got to cool. You know, you're focused on getting in and out safely. Yeah, more than you are the things you're dragging with you. Mm hmm. Very cool. All right. So next up on my list anyway, that let me know if your list shows you something different or different order. It talks to me about weapons like what weapons can I use without penalty basically, and so mine says I can use Light weapons without penalty. I have an inability with medium and heavy weapons. So they're harder for me to use. I just haven't practiced with them. That's the thing I could try out later. And so my attacks with medium and heavy weapons are hindered means like, it's harder for me to use them by a level. So if I'm trying to like, hit a level three creature, it's actually going to be a level four for me because I'm like, if I'm using this big accident, I don't know how to use some bad at it. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 49:28
How about you? What can you use? I can basically use light weapons. Yeah, it's probably my specialty waving medium for me.
Ryan Boelter 49:34
Oh, nice. Yeah. So where do we record that on the sheet?
Unknown Speaker 49:39
I would put that down in your pull up a character sheet
Ryan Boelter 49:43
Darcy Ross 49:44
I would put it in special abilities. Okay. This is sort of where you could conceivably write everything you're seeing on this type one in your special abilities area. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 49:54
Yep. Um, yeah, so mine is ad
Amelia Antrim 50:00
If you will the medium weapon increase the difficulty by one step and two steps for heavy weapons. Ooh, cool. Not good at weapons,
Darcy Ross 50:09
but light weapons you're fine with. What's nice about light weapons. Yeah, so how like weapons work in the cipher system as they're sort of light, medium and heavy and light weapons due to points of damage medium due for heavy do sex, and so you're not rolling for damage as you play
Unknown Speaker 50:26
Darcy Ross 50:28
And light weapons are a little easier to hit with. So they, if I'm trying to attack a level three snail dog, it's if I'm using a slingshot at it, it'll be only a level two to hit because they're so easy to use. If you want to do extra damage with weapons, you might have special abilities or you might spend effort to apply more damage, you know, you really swing harder with that. You take that big aim or that big draw of your bow. You spend some points from a pool and you try to really nail them with a lot of time. Image cool so that's weapons we'll be getting some equipment to look at later skills are next you may have some you may not have a lot as a right I'm trained in crafting numenera I can also pick a different kind of crafting skill in which I'm not already trained so crafting numenera maybe you want to craft like, I don't know weapons or armor or like clothing maybe I'm like a tailor who could say choose one of the following additional skills so I get salvaging numenera which is like taking it apart in a health helpful way. You know, how much do I get out of deconstructing that strange Tesla coil over there? Understanding numenera like just figuring out okay, what if I press that button what's going to happen? engineering wood crafting armoring weapon smithing or a different crafting skill and I have an inability in salvaging numenera And understanding human error. So I start out kind of bad at figuring out what numenera are and gathering them. That's what delves are for. elves are good at salvaging stuff. I'm good when I got all the pieces nicely laid out before me, but I have a hard time understanding what prebuilt stuff does, unless I sort of put that ability up. So your skills usually come in three different types. You have your train skills, your specialized skills, and in abilities. So something you're trained in, it's eased by a level something you're specialized in. Maybe you got that skill from two different places or you've upgraded it. it eases any task related to it by two levels, and inability means it's a level harder, it's so I have some inabilities I have some abilities. I have some training.
Ryan Boelter 52:53
So I've got it I start with salvage salvage Gene numenera training Didn't that also trained in exploration? Ooh. Oh, you're trained in an exfoliation skill in which you are not already trained? Oh, is there multiple exploration skills?
Darcy Ross 53:14
There are probably some that you could look, find and examples across the book. There is if you look in the rules, there is a big like skill list, okay? Sort of example skills, but you could just make something up that sounds related to exploration, you might be climbing, it might be swimming, it might be maybe it's perception, you can make an argument for that. Just something that speaks to your writing below. So
Ryan Boelter 53:39
it's not like exploring is just a generic catch all it's a like more specific, what you do during exploring,
Unknown Speaker 53:49
I think so I think that's
Ryan Boelter 53:50
interesting. Yeah. Because I'm a min max er at heart. I need to find my skills. Nice. See?
Amelia Antrim 54:01
So I don't have anything for skills, right? esoteric is
Darcy Ross 54:08
yes. So the nano doesn't automatically start with any skills, but you might get some from a focus or descriptor. Interesting. So you have esoteric, which is cool. That's like the name for your special abilities that you could choose from for your type. As a write mine our call find out inspired techniques. So we all have different lists of cool abilities we get to pack. So I've got some other weird stuff from just because I'm a weird, right. And I work with like a subsystem for crafting, so I'm gonna write that down. Hmm. And I think I'm going to be an armor. I've been doing it
Ryan Boelter 54:44
go climbing for my exploration skill. Cool. I couldn't find this skill list. Unfortunately.
Amelia Antrim 54:51
Darcy Ross 54:52
I can find that for you. But that sounds good. Yeah, page 27 of discovery.
Unknown Speaker 54:58
Darcy Ross 55:00
Just a little sidebar for again, like, you can pick any skill, but if you need a list to inspire you, here's, here's some good ones.
Ryan Boelter 55:09
Oh, yeah. Okay, so it's no definitive skill list, but here's some ideas. Mm hmm. Interesting. I'm Gretchen climbing to par. Cory.
Darcy Ross 55:20
Yes, I highly
Amelia Antrim 55:23
Ryan Boelter 55:25
I'm really big into playing Assassin's Creed right now. My character concept is kind of coming together a little clearer now.
Unknown Speaker 55:35
Darcy Ross 55:37
So I have the ability always tinkering, which is like, as long as I've got some stuff around, I can come up with a, I can create basically a random new cipher. That's kind of low level but just a random cipher. So basically, random, cool, weird ability that I can choose to use. I'm always tinkering. So what I often do when I'm using a character We have character portfolios that are like, really pretty little like character diaries almost with lots of spots for a journal and maps and you know, kind of people who want to write like lots of stuff or have sketches. But the character sheet is just two pages. And so a lot of times I'll write the special ability in like a summary and then maybe a page number in case I need to like, look it up again. Okay. I start with two numenera plans, which I'm very excited about, because I've never gotten to play with this subsystem yet. And so those are plans for like, ciphers or devices or vehicles.
Darcy Ross 56:38
I start with two numenera plans of my choice,
Ryan Boelter 56:41
dope. So I'm selling skills of course, that's totally legit. So to choose from the following, there's a bunch of skills listed here. I'm choosing a perception as one of these and then it says you have an inability in crafting numenera and understanding numenera couldn't find me in them but not understand this. Apparently,
Darcy Ross 57:01
our nano should be good at finding understanding. Yeah.
Ryan Boelter 57:05
Oh, that's an interesting triangle of skills we've got going on here.
Amelia Antrim 57:10
Yes, kind of start like that I, I'm trained in numenera and can attempt to understand and identify at the property. That's good.
Ryan Boelter 57:21
And at the end of my skills, it says enabler.
Darcy Ross 57:23
Yes. So anytime. This is this is listing lots of like weird abilities you might have. Whenever you see in numenera, or the cipher system enabler, that means like, you don't have to activate that ability. You are always trained in this stuff. It's enabled, it's ongoing, doesn't cost anything. There are some, like abilities that you might have to that they might be free, but you might have to say, you know, I, I'm activating my cool weird face shields and so then it'll say action to initiate. So it's just a room like It's a little redundant, but it's redundant in the way that sometimes you're scrolling through the book and you want to find the answer right away.
Ryan Boelter 58:07
So cool. All right. And then it says community Explorer, while you are present within a community and actively and personally working on behalf of that community, the community's effective rank for purposes of finding resources, locating new trade routes, knowing about conditions, just beyond the community and detecting sneak attacks by enemies is plus one
Darcy Ross 58:30
night so this is, you know, if we started like, a little village or decided to help out a village, we could play this like long term play in which, you know, are we helping the village grow and become a place that's a safe haven for refugees in this area, in which case we want to play over a few months, we're building houses or we're forging for new resources to help people you know, escape this war or something, or escape the iron wind. And so, there is a subsystem For like, kind of treating the community as a character and having a Delve around helps with certain things. Having a nano around helps with others, having a right around helps with others. So we're basically like, if we're helping the community, how do we impact its roles? So it's you know, if you're not playing a game where you're like situated and community that stuff won't come up a lot, but it's really there for people who want it, which is super fun. That's lovely.
Ryan Boelter 59:26
Yeah. I, I've been playing behind the wall recently. And that's all about community and I'm really big into that form of roleplay right now.
Unknown Speaker 59:37
Ryan Boelter 59:38
Oh, cool. I'll try that. It's really fun. It's like DND light, where you build a village along with your characters
Darcy Ross 59:49
here for it and you don't
Ryan Boelter 59:50
you don't you don't roll your stats. You. You craft a backstory through tables and the backstory gives you your stats. Oh, I love it. Yes, it's quite lovely.
Amelia Antrim 1:00:04
Thank you for joining us for part one of this character creation series. We'll be back in part two picking up right where we left off.
Ryan Boelter 1:00:11
Character Creation Cast is a production of the one shot Podcast Network and can be found online at www dot Character Creation Cast calm, head to the website to get more information on our hosts this show and even our press kit. Character Creation Cast can also be found on Twitter at Creation Cast or on our Discord server at discord Character Creation Cast calm I'm one of your hosts, Ryan bolter, and I can be found on Twitter at lordan Neptune or online at lordan Neptune calm. Our other host Amelie. Antrim can be found on twitter at ginger reckoning. Music for this episode is used with a Creative Commons license, or with permission from the podcast they originated from. Further information can be found within the show notes our main theme music Is hero remixed by Steve combs. And it's used with a Creative Commons license. This podcast is owned by us under Creative Commons. This episode was edited by Ryan bolter. Further information for the game systems used and today's guests can be found in the show notes. If you'd like to leave us a rating or review, we have links to various review platforms out there, including Apple podcasts in our show notes. Also, check the show notes for links to our other projects. Thanks for joining us. And remember, we find that the best part of any role playing game is character creation. So go third, create some amazing people. We will see you next time.
Amelia Antrim 1:01:57
Now we got to read some show blurbs
Unknown Speaker 1:01:59
Unknown Speaker 1:02:02
Unknown Speaker 1:02:02
Amelia Antrim 1:02:05
Character Creation Cast is hosted by the one shot Podcast Network. If you enjoyed our show, visit one shot podcast comm where you'll find other great shows like system mastery.
Ryan Boelter 1:02:15
System mastery is a delightful stroll through the history of role playing games. Except the games are terrible, and the hosts are real jerks about everything. Join hosts Jeff and john as they explore the weirdest games ever made to talk about what worked, what went wrong, and which silverhawk was the best. It was heartbreaking don't even find their shows at system mastery podcast calm or one shot podcast.com
Amelia Antrim 1:02:46
Transcribed by https://otter.ai