Rise of the Runelords through a lens of Numenera

Game Master spinningdice

Paizo's Rise of the Runelords adapted in both rules and setting to Monte Cooks Numenera

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Dark Archive

The Idea
Using the Setting and rules for Monte Cooks' Numenera to run Paizo's Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path.

The adventure will be adapted and possibly little resemble the original. Pathfinder creatures do not exist in Numenera, so I will be substituting, editing and fiddling quite a bit, while keeping the main plotlines in place. Given Numenera abilities can be disruptive, I fully expect the game will go off the rails a fair bit.

All the current Numenera options will be available. I also have access to the Strange and Cypher system book, if someone really wants an option from one of them. Though I'd probably rather keep it to Numenera options.

While Cypher system gives players all the rolls this may be slow on PbP. I'm sure there will be some refining, but I think I may roll some rolls (Defence, initiative) on behalf of players and let you spend Effort retroactively, and tell you whether it's a success or fail, but not the difficulty/TN, so you will have a little more info on whether to spend Effort than usual, but it shouldn't be gamebreaking.

For those unfamiliar, Numenera is a semi-medieval setting in the far future of Earth. There have been 8 prior worlds, dominated by great civilisations who have risen to godlike powers through technology but then fell to destruction. As a result there is a fair amount of weird left behind, largely not understood by the current folk, though some scholars and experts have a limited understanding of this ancient artefacts.

I think Numenera works better with smaller numbers of players, I will probably run it if I can get at least 2 if they seem dedicated enough, obviously that doesn't leave much space for anyone to drop out. I'll be taking no more than 5 initially.
While I've listed this as an Interest Check, I'm pretty sure I'll run it if the interest is there, so feel free to post characters.

New Players?
If anyone doesn't have any familiarity with the system, I don't mind helping you through a character and rules.

um......yeah! Definitely interested

Interested! Although my familiarity with the Numenera system is limited to a few hours playing the Torment: Tides of Numenera beta. I'll probably need help with the character creation, leaning towards a nano or a glaive.

Full disclosure: I run a RotRL campaign with a live group.

Ok, I'm interested but, full disclosure, I've never played Numenera. I have a couple of the books and have toyed around making PCs but no real experience.

Where will our PC be starting from? Where in the Ninth World will this adventure take place?

Just curious: why don't you adapt Iron Gods, which seems tailor made for the Ninth World?

Dark Archive

I don't really mind if people have played/are running RotRL already, it's going to look different enough and feel different enough that it probably won't matter, and I usually view RPG's as being more about the journey than about knowing the destination.

I decided on Runelords partially because I have it, and I haven't picked up Iron Gods (or I might have part one?, I'd have to check), in part because I fancy the challenge of adapting a more typical fantasy adventure to a more... eccentric setting.

I haven't player Torment, I'm a backer, but didn't go for Early Access, I'd rather play it when it has a bit more polish.

I'm not sure where to set it yet. I'll be spending some time looking at the region maps/descriptions and will decide.

I am interested, but I know nothing of the system. I am just getting into rpg games and pbp.

Dark Archive

Looking at setting this in Ghan, with Ledon being the nearest major settlement.
I see little reason not to use Sandpoint more or less as is, at least in general terms.

While Human is perhaps a broader term in Numenera, it is not a setting with a great deal of non-humans, and as per the standard RotR introduction you are either in or approaching Sandpoint for the Swallowtail festival, being organised and run by Sandpoints local Aeon Priest.

Basic System
Rolls in Numenera are on a d20 against a target number, your stat's do not directly contribute to the rolls but you can spend "effort" where you spend a number of points (usually 3) from your stat pools to reduce the difficulty by 3. Since your stat pools are also your hit points, you need to balance how much you want to succeed with how much you want to hurt yourself. Your 3 stat pools are a Might, Speed and Intellect.

Character Creation
Characters have a Descriptor, Type and Focus.

Type is the "class" in D&D terms and there are 3, these are:
Glaive: the physical specialist, closes to a martial class.
Jack: The generalist, closest to a skill class
Nano: The spellcaster

Descriptors define a flavour of character, such as "Charming" or "Graceful", they are basically a level 1 package, and don't tend to grant additional abilities as you level.

Foci tend to be your special power, and maybe something like "Controls Beasts" and be overtly 'special' or can be something less so like "Masters Weaponry". Foci give new abilities at every Level (actually called 'Tiers' Numenera)

I am quite happy to be flexible with characters, if we get a ways in and you realise that you've made some choices you're not enjoying, please let me know and we'll try and work out a way to change you, whether that be glossing over a change in abilities or giving you an in-game way of changing.

Some Links
Don't know how useful it will be, but Character generator is a character generator, for anyone that wants to poke around numbers.

There's a "system Cheat Sheet" at Cheat Sheet though it's more of a GM's screen than a player tool by it's looks.

I could have sworn that I'd seen a simple rules summary somewhere, but it escapes me now.

I'm interested. Very interested actually. Will you be creating a separate official recruitment post, or shouod we post characters here? Also, what would yu like to see for posting frequency, once per day alright?

Been a little bit since I've mucked around with Numenera, so I need to freshen up a bit, and I was only ever familiar with the setting in the most broad of terms. Thinking I'd like to play a jack or nano. Would there be leeway to make a near human type race? Mechanically I'm thinking no different than a human, just a little different cosmetically.

Dark Archive

Well we've got five expressions of interest. So I'd better get working on this a bit more seriously.

I wouldn't get too concerned with the background on Numenera, it's fairly loose with the setting anyway, and while I'm not going to intentionally rewrite any of it it will bend to my whims.

Feel free to post characters here.

I check the forums quite often, as my work tends to spend a certain amount of time waiting for calls. As a minimum I will check in at least once/day, I would expect the same of most people. Some slowdown over weekends and general chaos over holidays is assumed.

I see human as a much broader term in Numenera, so if you want to have cosmetic inhuman features then it's no problem for me.
In addition there are actual non-human races in the Numenera Character Options book, which I have no real objection to, but would prefer a majority human party.

Do you allow mutants? I've always loved gamma world.

2 beneficial mutations:

1d100 ⇒ 52 Processor dreams
1d100 ⇒ 43 Telekinetic shield

4 distinctive mutations

1d100 ⇒ 67 Extra arms
1d100 ⇒ 88 Eye stalks + beneficial
1d100 ⇒ 16 Tendril fingers + beneficial
1d100 ⇒ 54 Extra arm joint

Bonus beneficial mutations

1d100 ⇒ 20 Improved nervous system
1d100 ⇒ 25 Improved neural processes

Sounds like a Mutant Jack who Wields Two Weapons

I'll finish the rest once I know if mutations are okay.

If you'd allow, I'd like to use this character from a previous Numenera game that halted abruptly.

We'd have to re-roll cyphers etc , and I'd have to rework her background, but I like her :)

-- Spazmodeus

Dark Archive

Mutations are fine, though some of the obvious mutations will stand out, despite the large diversity of humans in the Ninth World, and most folk would rather steer clear of you.

It's also worth noting that there are additional Mutations in the Character Options book if you would rather use that table?

Zimm looks fine on an initial scan.

I understand that it'll have it's difficulties, which is why I'm also making him an entertainer to compensate to some degree.

It's hard to hide that Elbow is strange, so he rarely bothers. His eyes curve out from the sides of his head. He's got too many arms, they're too long and bend in too many places. His fingers are even more so. He does have the right number of legs. Perhaps a bit short, but he seems to keep up well enough. Over one shoulder is a crossbow, over the other, three necks of his strange instrument, with a shield hung to protect it. Only the sharp-eyed will see the kukri handles at the small of his back. Since he does look strange, he'll often come into towns playing music. With his many hands, he plays all three necks at once to provide his own accompaniment.


Elbow - A Mutant Jack who Wields Two Weapons
Might 13
Speed 18 - Edge 1
Intellect 15
Effort 1
Skill Entertain
Flex Skill Sneaking
Trick Trained Without Armor - trained speed defense

Beneficial Mutations:
Processor dreams - asset for overnight intellect checks
Telekinetic shield - asset speed defense
Improved nervous system +5 speed
Improved neural processes +5 intellect

Distinctive mutations

Extra arms - 2 extra arms
Extra arm joint - asset in melee attacks only with speed
Tendril fingers - asset grasping/manipulating, hold 2 items in hand
Eye stalks - asset in initiative and perception

2 Stronglass Kukri - Light weapons
Crossbow - Medium, long range

Shield - asset defense

explorer’s pack
light tools
triple-necked zithtar
1 oddity - TBD
2 cyphers - TBD
3 shins

Dark Archive

Okay, so we currently have:
Elbow: A Mutant Jack who Wields Two Weapons
Zimm Nata: An Inquisitive Nano who Wields Power With Precision

If we can get a Glaive we'll have a full set of Types? Not that, it's particularly essential.

If anyone doesn't have access to the rules, but wants to make a character

The bulk of a character is determined by picking the following 3 options (I've mentioned core book options only):

Type: Glaive (warrior), Jack (rogue) or Nano (mage)


Bears a Halo of Fire
Carries a Quiver
Commands Mental Powers
Controls Beasts
Controls Gravity
Crafts Illusions
Crafts Unique Objects
Employs Magnetism
Exists Partially Out of Phase
Explores Dark Places
Fights With Panache
Focuses Mind Over Matter
Fuses Flesh and Steel
Howls at the Moon
Hunts With Great Skill
Lives in the Wilderness
Masters Defense
Masters Weaponry
Rides the Lightning
Talks to Machines
Wears a Sheen of Ice
Wields Power With Precision
Wields Two Weapons at Once
Works Miracles
Works the Back Alleys

If you can let me know options you're interested in and I'll let you know some details. As far as I can recall, none of the options are hard-coded to work with only one Type.
Once you've selected these options you have your character line such as:
A Learned Glaive who Talks to Machines

Strong Glaive Who Controls Gravity.

What books should I pick up to flesh out the character? Do you recommend that I read up on the Numenera setting? If so, what books do you recommend?

Dark Archive

The Players Guide (Players Guide is relatively cheap and contains all the character options and an overview of the base rules/setting.(iirc) There are no new rules above the Core Book in there, just info pulled out of the core rulebook.

Numenera Character Options gives more Foci/Descriptors and few optional rules.

The Core book is more expensive and has all the main info in it
The Ninth World Guidebook is useful, but in all honesty its more of a GM book, it details more of the world outside the core region, goes a little bit more in depth of some sites and gives a handful of additional character options (mostly ones tied to these more 'exotic' regions)

The basic idea is that this is a million years of the future. Eight empires have risen and fallen. Empires that mastered spaceflight and biology and gravity and dimensions. They have all collapsed. The remnants of that are all around. Even within us.

For each of the character types, they give suggestions as to how you get your powers - nanotechnology, genetic manipulation, exposure to strange devices, as well as hard work or hard knocks for more mundane skills.

Looking at it from outside, it's a post-apocalyptic campaign. From inside it's a world of ancient and powerful magics.

Elbow Background:

Terrezin "Elbow" Deschaya was born on the shores of the Lake of Five Stars. The people of Star's Edge tended to be a bit unusual, so they were more focused on things like the child breathing than worrying about the number of extremities they have. Despite his strangeness, he grew up healthy and that was good. As a child he was curious and grew bored easily, so his mother taught him juggling to keep him out from underfoot. With his gifts, he quickly mastered this and developed new techniques to take advantage of what he could do. Of course this also made it less useful to distract him as he could juggle while still doing other things.

Music was the next frontier. A wandering minstrel came by and commented on his strange hands. He taught young Terrezin a few chords on his lute. This is where the nickname "Elbow" came in, after the unlucky elbow that kept poking his mentor. Soon he was obsessed, and his Father brought back a unique instrument from the City. With three necks and extra sympathetic strings on the body it was an oddity in a store window. To his son it was something designed for him. He began writing songs, doing most of the work while he slept.

By then he was learning that the rest of the world was not like Star's Edge. People tended to be closer to each other and less appreciative of differences than the Edgers were. Still, the music and juggling and tumbling helped. Entertainers were allowed a little leeway outside of the rules. Not much, but often enough to let people get to know him a little. Being a naturally friendly and outgoing guy, that was often enough. He had the need to travel, and as beautiful as the stars within the lake were, he needed to see more.

Still, he did pick up some fighting skills to deal with the cases where a smile and a song were not enough. His coordination helped him in this, letting him defend from multiple angles at once. One time he was jumped by two men alike as brothers. They brought blades, but his clubs were more than enough. They started it, and in the end he took their blades from them. Curved strongglass blades, tinted a bluish shade with a network of curved lines within the blade. Examining them, he saw a small cover in the handle. Opening it up showed there were channels for water that filled the curved lines within. Old Methros figured they might be decorative or they might be waiting for the right fluid to do something more.

Since then he's been wandering. Trading, doing odd jobs and singing for his supper. One day he figures he'll return home and settle down, but for now he wanders.

I got the Player's Guide and the Character Options, so I'll be working on fleshing out my concept over the next few days. I have changed my mind about their focus, my initial choice doesn't do what I thought it did.

Is the info on Ghan in the core rulebook?

Dark Archive

Ghan is in the core rulebook, but the information is fairly short, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'll post up some info on the area when we are ready to get started.

Here is my Glaive then.


I like Avanoa and Nimm. Looks like a good start.

An idea if we don't get more players. Perhaps we could do a gestalt version of Numenara. People could choose a second focus, type, or descriptor. This would make us more varied and better able to take on the challenge.

Dark Archive

Well we seem to have 3, I don't think Numenera as a system really needs a large number of characters, I'll leave recruitment semi-open as a couple more players would be nice. Should be some opportunity to allow for new recruits through a lot of the opening arc.
If you seem to be struggling I'll just get a little more generous with Cyphers/Artefacts/XP/Other boons.

We've rather conveniently got all 3 types covered.

I'm going to make an official start on Saturday. Though will be trying to get some more detail up before then.

Combat-wise Numenera doesn't lend itself to battlemaps, but if things are unclear at any point do let me know and I'll sketch something out.

XP wise I think I'm going to expect that the group "levels-up" once in each book. so the six books should even up over 6 levels. That said, it is in part player option when to cash your XP into advancements, so your usage of them may drive how often I give them out.

I am interested! I have been curious about Numenera for a while. If you are interested in helping a Nemenera-Newbie I would like to tag along.

Dark Archive

Opened up Discussion/Gameplay thread for dotting/introductions, don't go too far with it, as we could do with selecting/rolling for party links so we know how the party is grouped beforehand.

More than happy to help you through MisterLurch, do you have access to rulebooks, or do we need to talk you through without. There is a list of character options 10 or so posts above here, if anything is jumping out at you to play.

We have all the main bases, as far as I can see, no-one has focussed on personality/face skills, though don't feel you have to go that route.

Sorry for the slow response, I had one heck of a week at work. I am usually not this slow.

I just got a copy of the corebook. I will take a look at the character options and put together an idea tomorrow.

I hope it is not too late.

As interesting as this idea is I'm going to bow out. Was picked up in another Rise game. Though I'm going to be following along, reading the game play thread.

Grand Lodge

Youve certainly piqued my interest.
If i can, ill be looking at a "nano (crafter)" type character.

Grand Lodge

Yu'lak, the mechanical nano that crafts unique objects.

Character Sheet (Rough):

7 Might
9 Speed
18+2 Intellect

Forbidden Knowledge, needs to learn more about numenera to become more powerful.

Learning skills faster then most, the powers that be is paying close attention

Effort: 1
Genius: Int Edge 1, 0 other edges
Expert Cypher Use: 3 Cyphers
Can use light weapons without penalty
Numenera Training

Book about numenera
3 (DM Roll) Cyphers
1+2 (DM Roll) Oddity
Bag of light Tools
Backpack (2 shins)
Rations for 1 day (2 Shins)



+2 Int
Trained: Identifying/Understanding Numeneras
Sense "Magic": Knows when a numenera is active where it isnt obvious, Study for 1 minute to know more.

Hedge Magic

Charm, persuasion and Deception one more difficult

+1 Oddity

Great way to learn about numenera by adventuring

Mutation gave knowledge from the datasphere


Crafts Unique Objects

Another random character gets one more regular item of equipment (their choice).

+1 Oddity

Minor effect suggestion:
Any rolls regarding that artifact gains a +1 bonus for 28 hours

2 kinds of item (Armor, Adventuring Equipment)
Master Identifier: Trained in identifying (any device)

Grand Lodge

I mean (Metalworking, Numenera) for crafting.
First time in this system.

I think I would like to make a Graceful Jack who Controls Gravity. I will put together a character sheet for your approval...

Trace Jenkins, Graceful Jack who Controls Gravity:

Effort 1


Might (Edge: 0)
Speed (Edge: 1)
Intellect (Edge: 0)

Flex Skill
Trained in Climbing
Trained in all tasks involving balance and careful movement.
Trained in all tasks involving physical performing arts.
Trained in all Speed defense tasks.

Practiced with Light and Medium Weapons
Practiced in Armor
Hedge Magic

Two weapons:
Light Armor:
An explorer’s pack
Two cyphers (chosen for you by the GM)
One oddity (chosen for you by the GM)
Oddity: A pen-sized oddity that tells the weight of whatever you point it at (within short range). The weight is displayed on a small glass plate in runes that only you can decipher.

Other Details:
Shins: You have 8 shins to spend.
Cyphers: You can bear up to 2 cyphers.

Jack: Corebook, page 40
Controls Gravity: Corebook, page 56
Graceful: Corebook, page 48

What are the rules around what weapons and armor we can choose?

Grand Lodge

Is this still a thing? :)

Dark Archive

Yes, my humble apologies, I had unexpected guests over the weekend and then when I did try to update here Paizo's site seemed to be experiencing flakiness.

So let me see if I've got this right:
Zimm Nata, an Inquisitive Nano who Wields Power With Precision
Elbow - A Mutant Jack who Wields Two Weapons
Avanoa le Gataifale, a Hardy Glaive who Fuses Flesh and Steel

MisterLurch: Trace Jenkins, Graceful Jack who Controls Gravity
Ral'Torus: Yu'lak, the mechanical nano that crafts unique objects

If we assume this is a complete list for the moment, and you can start allocating connections, would you prefer to roll your own Cyphers/oddities or would you rather I rolled/allocated them to you?

Could you please explain how allocating connections works? Is it the part that says "pick one PC, that person something something"?

If we roll for Cyphers, where is that table located? I don't have the Core book, so if it's there then I would prefer the GM rolling/allocating them to my character.

I think we should roll them.

cypher: 1d100 ⇒ 8 = Chemical factory
Level: 1d6 ⇒ 6 Level 6
Type: 1d3 ⇒ 1 Pill

cypher: 1d100 ⇒ 5 = Blinking nodule
Level: 1d6 ⇒ 1 Level 1

1d100 ⇒ 60 = Cup that instantly boils any liquid poured into it.

It looks like I'll be brewing the tea.

Dark Archive

It is intended in the rules that Cypers/oddities are generated by the GM, though I note a few characters seem to have them already listed.

Yes the connections are the "Pick one PC, that person..." bits, generally giving you a minor mechanical benefit and a tie to another character, you can either do this circle fashion or pair up (or a mix of both within the group)

MisterLurch - I meant to reply, there is little mechanical difference between the weapons in the equipment list. Don't have time to check the book right now, but can't recall anything that would unbalance things, so just pick one (or however many you need).

I will go through the characters a bit later and see who needs Cyphers/Oddities. Or I could just allocate them for everyone?

I can easily roll to allocate my cyphers/oddities. I will do so this afternoon.

I will get a profile written up and start working on connections. Are supposed to use all the connections, or just some of them, or what? (i.e. there are connections based on focus, and on descriptor)

Is there a descriptor in one of the other books called Curious or anything like that? Because that would fit Trace better than Graceful...

Grand Lodge

Im giving "Trace jenkins" a free regular starting item of his choice thats not limited by money or such as far as i know (crafts unique objects, made by my character).
(Pick wisely MisterLurch... :P)

And i need the DM to roll up 3 Cyphers and 3 oddities for my character. :)

The mutant rules are tempting...

Ral'Tarus wrote:

Im giving "Trace jenkins" a free regular starting item of his choice thats not limited by money or such as far as i know (crafts unique objects, made by my character).

(Pick wisely MisterLurch... :P)

And i need the DM to roll up 3 Cyphers and 3 oddities for my character. :)

A little advice on this would be useful; this is my first time trying out Numenera. :)

Cypher: 1d100 ⇒ 89 - Teleporter (bounder).
Level: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5.

Cypher: 1d100 ⇒ 47 - Lightning wall projector.
Level: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7.

Oddity: 1d100 ⇒ 44 - Armband that tightens slightly when within 100 feet (30 m) of abhumans.

Those seem pretty cool!

Are the cyphers one use items?

Grand Lodge

Basic advice:
Pick the most expensive regular item you need (you get it for free). :P
(Fullplate or a Heavy Weapon or such expensive things)

Grand Lodge

If its as allowing as i think it is for this free item.

Depending on what type of armor your looking for:

"Synth Breastplate", 50 shins, 3 armor, Medium armor.


"Micromesh", 50 shins, 2 armor, Light armor.

The only connection I can find for my character (mechanically speaking) is under my focus, where it says "pick one other PC". Am I missing something? This sounds like a second connection, in which case what is my first connection?

In any case, the PC who would know Avanoa's true nature is Yu'lak. If Ral'Tarus would rather pair up with MisterLurch, then my connection would be Zimm Nata (she is inquisitive enough to figure things out).

GM, please roll/allocate cyphers and an oddity for my character.

Grand Lodge

(Sorry, just thought the jack (being more rogue-ish) needed the boost to start with equipmentwise.
Glaives get alot more direct power from the start in melee.)

Yeah, does her machine parts count as numenera btw? My character is basically a walking numenera detector, lol. Has like -3 or -4 difficulty to identify it and use it. Think spidey senses if they were attuned to numenera things. :)

Yu'lak wrote:
Yeah, does her machine parts count as numenera btw? My character is basically a walking numenera detector, lol. Has like -3 or -4 difficulty to identify it and use it. Think spidey senses if they were attuned to numenera things. :)

"Skills can never decrease a task by more than two steps; being trained and specialized in a skill decreases the difficulty by only two steps, not three."

Yes, also got a "Book about numenera". Which can further decrease it by 1 or 2 steps. (not sure if its 1 or 2) as an asset. :)

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