Guest Post: Numenera: Into the Ninth World

This is a rarity for this blog, a guest post. But my friend Jamie asked if he could do one for the blog, and I thought why not? It will give you all a break from my ramblings. Please note this guest post neither represents my views or is me endorsing any product/kickstarter. The following is entirely the views and opinions of Jamie. Right disclaimer over here are Jamie's words for you to read.


Growing up in a small community in the UK I was never really exposed to Roleplaying Games until I was already a couple of years into college. I had collected Warhammer 40K for most of my teenage years and when Inquisitor was released in 2001 I decided to give it a try. This was a narrative skirmish game and it served as a gateway from table top miniature war-games to story driven table top gaming. Before long I was introduced to D&D 3rd edition and eventually decided to turn my hand to DMing. I was really into the world building and narrative development, but my small group of players disliked my style as too ‘Railroading’, as they wanted and open world free for all and I wanted to craft a compelling story. I would eventually come to realise that there is a balance between these too ideals, but it was several years before I tried to turn my hand to running a game again. I dabbled with 4th edition, but as an RPG it wasn’t for me, I felt the system was a little too ‘crunchy’ like Inquisitor and made for a better board game.

Then in September 2012 I discovered the Numenera Kickstarter, two days too late. The setting sounded interesting, and the rules promised to take a backseat to exploration and collaborative storytelling. Even though the Kickstarter had finished, I found that Monte Cook Games were still allowing preorders, so I made my pledge and waited.

For those new to the setting, Numenera is set in the ‘Ninth World’, our world, but ‘1 Billion Years in the Future’. Think about that for a moment. Seven other civilizations have risen and fallen after our own, and the ninth is well on its way to the middle ages. “What’s the point if it’s just another rehash of the traditional Knights of the Round Table setting?” I hear you ask, well imagine if King Arthur had grown up around the remnants of an incredibly advanced civilization, with left over technology that is largely incomprehensible to even the most learned of the era, what impact would that have?

As Arthur C. Clarke put it, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, and that is the heart of Numenera.

When the Numenera sourcebook eventually arrived I was blown away by the quality of both its production and the content. This book alone contained enough material to get a game up and running, along with a combined world guide and ‘monster manual’. It was excellent value.

The system took a little while to get my head around at first, as it was so different to what I had experienced before. The GM doesn’t make any rolls? Really? And then you come to realise that intraditional RPGs the GM is going to fudge the results of her secret rolls half the time anyway to make it fair to the players (unless they are really mean), so why not put the onus on the players. They get to gamble with the risk and reward directly and with the inspired inclusion of the GM intrusion mechanic, allowing the GM to interrupt and throw a spanner in the works in exchange for bonus XP, still gave the GM enough control to shape the story.

After running a few games of Numenera, I knew that the Cypher System was right for me, and the setting of the Ninth World was fresh (and weird) enough to provide a lot of inspiration for my own world building within it.

The numerous ‘Glimmers’ or digital supplements that followed the release of the core book, along with further hardback releases of a detailed Bestiary, Technology Guide and World Guide, have only continued in the tradition of the first release, maintaining the quality while expanding the breadth and depth of the worldbuilding options.

I now have so much faith in the Monte Cook Games team that I didn’t hesitate to back the Numenera Reliquary Box Set Kickstarter as soon as it was announced, and I wait with anticipation (and the quiet jealousy of seeing seemingly everyone on Twitter receive theirs already), for its imminent delivery.

Which brings us to Monte Cook’s new Kickstarter announcement:

Into the Ninth World:

I knew as soon as Monte announced the first of this new book line last year that I was going to be getting it. Into The Night expands the Numenera sandbox dramatically by opening up space travel and the potential to explore the solar system ‘One billion years in the future’, I can’t wait to see what’s out there. For this now to become the first of an entire product line for expanding the Ninth World is very exciting, and the Kickstarter is already off to a phenomenal start, having hit its initial funding goal one hour after launch and tripling this only 18 hours later, there will be many big things to come before this Kickstarter concludes. Four stretch goals have been met and I am sure there will be many more over the next month before this campaign comes to an end.

But why is this important to you? Well if you have already bought into the MCG ecosphere you have probably already backed this project, as you know what the team there can deliver, but if you are new to Numenera or any of the Cypher System games, this is a great point to jump on board. Take a look at the Pledge calculator to see what addons you can get:

That’s right, pretty much the entire back catalogue (sans glimmers) is available to bundle in with this Kickstarter, for a reasonable price. It is worth noting that this has free shipping in the US, but if you’re in the UK like me, or anywhere else for that matter, shipping costs do add up, though MCG does provide a $10 subsidy on the shipping cost for each delivery. It’s a hefty investment but, believe me, it’s well worth it.

I hope this has convinced some of you to jump on board, and if so please come join in the fun at the Numenera G+ community

You can reach Jamie at the following places

Jamie Myland

Numenera, The Strange, the Cypher System, and their respective logos are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Monte Cook Games characters and character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC. Content derived from Monte Cook Games publications is © 2013-2014 Monte Cook Games, LLC.



2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Numenera: Into the Ninth World

  1. Been reading up on Numenera, and it does sound really cool, a refined, focused approach to making RPing about the story and not the rules.

    Just need to find some people to play it with, as I know I’m not cut out to DMing it myself.

    1. I’m going to have the same problem with the RPG Paranoia when I get the update I backed on kickstarter.

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