A billion years in the future, eight civilizations have come and gone; we ourselves were the first, or maybe pre-first. In Numenera by Monte Cook (co-designer of Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 and designer of Ptolus), characters explore the Ninth World to find leftover artifacts of nanotechnology, the datasphere, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange devices that defy understanding. The inspiration for the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment, Numenera is about discovering the wonders of the prior worlds to improve the present and build a future.
Numenera hit the scene as the RPG field’s first Kickstarter mega-success. In August 2012 Monte Cook asked for $20,000 to publish his SF/fantasy hybrid RPG. On Day 1, patrons pledged more than $40,000. In one month the Numenera Kickstarter garnered $517,000, setting a record for tabletop RPGs. Since then Monte Cook Games has become possibly the most adroit crowdfunder in tabletop RPGs, having run successful campaigns for The Strange, Invisible Sun, No Thank You Evil!, and — twice more — Numenera.
Numenera‘s Cypher System rules are flexible yet streamlined and intuitive. A single d20 roll decides success or failure, and the number of modifiers is limited. Players can spend Effort to lower a roll’s difficulty. They earn experience points by making new discoveries or when the GM introduces new complications, and players and also award experience to each other for good roleplaying.
1. Numenera Bundle [revived from May 2014]This first Numenera Bundle, originally presented in May 2014 and revived that December, included the complete 418-page Numenera core rulebook and many early supplements. There were three titles in this offer’s Starter Collection (retail value $25) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the rulebook, the Gamemaster’s Screen, and Cypher Collection 1.
Those who paid more than this offer’s threshold (average) price also got this offer’s entire Bonus Collection with six more titles worth an additional $45:
- Player’s Guide (retail $8): The character creation rules and basic mechanics from theNumenera corebook — a great guide for new players.
- Ninth World Bestiary (retail $15): More than 130 lavishly illustrated and wildly imaginative creatures and characters in the Ninth World.
- The Devil’s Spine (retail $10): Three adventures in a hard-driving frame story. The terrifying devil’s spine graft will claim a life, and the clock is ticking.
- Vortex (retail $6): Monte Cook’s original Gen Con 2013 Numenera launch scenario — an ideal campaign kickoff in a mysterious temple like nothing the Ninth World has ever seen.
- In Strange Aeons (retail $3): Incorporate cosmic horror — the terror of unfathomable reaches of both space and time, and of incomprehensible weirdness — into your Numenera games.
- Artifacts and Oddities Collection 1 (retail $3): This companion to the Cypher collection presents 30 new devices and a hundred oddball phenomena to spice up your game.
2. Numenera +2 – Ninth World Discovery [all-new]Monte Cook Games funded an entire new line of Numenera supplements with its spectacular August 2015 Into the Ninth World Kickstarter campaign. This new companion offer presented many of those ebooks. There were five titles in this offer’s Starter Collection (retail value $47), including Numenera Character Options, the Ninth World Guidebook, the Technology Compendium, and Maps of the Ninth World 1 and Maps of the Ninth World 2.
This offer’s Bonus Collection presented seven more titles worth an additional $67:
- Torment: Tides of Numenera — The Explorer’s Guide (retail $15): Numenera inspired the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment. This 160-page book presents the computer game’s setting, the region of Greater Garravia.
- Into the Deep and Into the Night (retail $15 each): Two sourcebooks that present new frontiers in the ocean and the sky. Includes The Nightcraft (retail $3).
- Weird Discoveries (retail $10): Ten instant adventures you can run in an evening with minimal prep.
- Beyond All Worlds (retail $4): An adventure into the Mouth of Hell by Robert J. Schwalb (Shadow of the Demon Lord).
- Into the Violet Vale (retail $5): A Gen Con tournament adventure by Monte Cook that makes an excellent introduction to the Ninth World.
- “Top of the Table – The Weird World of Numenera” (Game Informer)
- The Cypher System Creator program at DriveThruRPG lets fans and third-party publishers release products for Numenera and the Cypher System.
- Facebook groups for Cypher System Gaming and Monte Cook Games
- Numenera subreddit (Reddit)
- The CypherCast podcast has spawned a small CypherCast Hub fan community.
- Another Numenera podcast, “The Signal,” presented 29 episodes in 2014-15.
- The Ninth World fan community has gone dormant but still has resources and valuable links. Their Pinterest board is The Datasphere.
- Numenera System Cheat Sheet (Justin Alexander)
- Online Numenera character generation utility and cypher generator (Petteri Sulonen)
- Fate co-designer Rob Donoghue”s nine-part, 13,000-word Numenera analysis (The Walking Mind)
- The Twitterbot @NumeneraCharBot generates concepts like “an Underwhelming Venture Capitalist Who Shortsightedly Eats the Last Mozzarella Stick,” “an Annoying Hipster Who Ironically Calls Shotgun Then Runs to the Car,” and “a Tacky Nano Who Takes Your Seat Even Though You Were Just Sitting There.”