When I was in middle school and high school my group of friends consisted of James, Terry, Franklin, Gary sometimes, and myself. James, Terry, and Gary I met in fourth grade, Franklin came along in six grade.
Well, we all loved Dungeons & Dragons as you could of guessed and we played every weekend for years. We would mainly get together at Terry's moms apartment because she would go and stay with her husband that lived on the beach on the weekends. Yea, that sounds weird I know. So we would all pack up and stay there every weekend. Terry's mom was cool with it as long as we didn't break or burn anything down. haha
Before I would go to school on Friday. my mom and dad would give me twenty dollars for the weekend because they knew where I would be and then they would not see me until Sunday night when my mom came and got me from Terry's. Damn we had so much fun. Of course as soon as school let out we all would pile into Jame's old piece of shit Chrysler and we would then head off to Winn Dixie for our weekend supplies. I would normally get five or six of those Winn Dixie Brand Mountain Lightning (Mountain Few generic) two liters of coke and three packs of the Big Sixty peanut butter cookies. That was a total of five dollars. Then we would head out to the beach and grab a bunch of those thirty nine cent hot and now hamburgers. We ate like kings the entire weekend. hahaha
Over the years we played classic Dungeons & Dragons rules but all of the content we did like Undermountain and Ravenloft was all second edition. We could not afford the tons of class, race, and monster appendixes that were coming out monthly so we just got what we could and played it in classic. Our characters were in our early level thirties when Gary's mother and father were divorced. Gary then would come down for the summers and stay with his dad.
See Gary always played a Half Orc assassin. Gary was the exception to the rule where we only played basic Dungeons & Dragons characters. So over a few summers Gary would inject a huge amount of drama and chaos into our game. He would always get us into a huge amount of predicaments that we did not want to get our group into. He would not do any kind of negotiating. He would also pick the pocket of our characters and plant it on other characters and start shit that way as well. It was not fun playing the game with Gary anymore. We dreaded the summer when he would come down. Gary had changed over the past few years. So in class Franklin and I discussed that we would deal with him when Gary came down again for the summer. We would take his Assassin out the first chance we got to do so.
So Gary came down for the summer and we had our plan. Our first night playing we were in the depths of Undermountain. We had been in this damn place for over a year trying to find a way out. We had rooms and rooms of treasure that we had pillaged from the other areas. We were rich! Gary had found us miraculously, of course, go figure. It started off horrible because he started taking what he wanted out of our treasure. The night started off on a bad foot. So after running from a beholder for half the night our characters needed to rest. We set up camp and Gary said his character fell asleep. The green light just came on so Franklin and I sprung into action. Franklin played a high level Magic User. I played a high level Cleric. As Gary was sleeping he went outside to smoke a cigarette. When he went outside to smoke Franklin told our DM James he cast Hold Person on Gary. It was great. James said ok hes sleeping so he will not even get a saving throw. So Gary came back in and James told him that he was held from the Hold Person spell. I asked James how big the room he was sleeping in was. James said, hmmmm, about twenty by twenty or so. I said ok, I cast Blade Barrier in the room. He just looked at me with his jaw dropped and said, no you didn't. I said, yea, I just did. So basically over the next few rounds Gary took 7d10 damage per round from Blade Barrier and his character became a milk shake. He was totally pissed off.
So after Gary was oozing out of the room Franklin and I went into the room and took everything from him that was not destroyed from the Blade Barrier spell. It was awesome. Gary said fuck you Dave and Franklin and then left. That was it for playing for the weekend. James and Terry were so pissed we were told we ruined the game. haha
I had told this story on the Twitch Stream a time or two in the past so I hope you all enjoyed my moment of Glory playing Dungeons & Dragons.
See you guys next week!
So, Numenera. Have you guys heard of this game? Numenera is a game made by Monte Cook (3e overlord) and his new game studio called Monte Cook games. Monte did a Kickstarter to create the core rulebook for Numenera. It was a massive success. Numenera is a Sci-Fi / Fantasy game based thousands of years into the future on a planet called the ninth world. You see guys and gals, I am not a big fan of sci-fi stuff for table top games. Nothing against it or anything and I appreciate it and respect it and all that good jazz but I am an old school Fantasy guy. It's what I grew up playing and it is simply put, "in my wheel house." But I will say this, Numenera has really grown on me over the past several years since reading some of the free downloadable PDF's and then getting into the Numenera Starter Box set from several years ago.
I see Numenera as Sci-Fi game with a splash of fantasy, but, the splash of fantasy is just enough for me to wet my fantasy taste buds and pull me in. Numenera is NOT your normal D20 type of table top game. Not in the slightest. It has several unique mechanics to the game and I will go over them. Numerera also has a few props available to use like monster and cypher cards. The D&D 4e lover in me loves these props. The GM can also intrude him/her self into the game by drawing a GM intrusion card to inject chaos.
The core character types are only three, but do not let that low number scare you. There is a helluva lot of ways to customize your character and I will talk about them. Then there is probably my favorite part of the game. Cyphers. Cyphers are one use magical items that hold skills. They are fluid, they are everywhere in the Ninth world. And do not forget about the monsters. There are a lot of dangerous monsters in the ninth world and I will talk about their quirks as well.
Numenera has done so well that several other games have spawned off of Numenera. The Strange, by Bruce Cordell, Monte Cooks longtime childhood friend took the core mechanics of Numenera and made his game a post apocalyptic world. Then a Core Book called the Cypher System Rulesbook takes the best of both Numenera and The Strange and makes a generic system much like Savage Worlds or GURPS and lets the game master play whatever genre he or she wants to play from Fantasy to Super Hero to Modern to Cthulhu types of horror.
The Numenera Core Book is really all you need to play the game. It is an all in one base core rule book with 416 pages. It seems a lot of game companies are starting to do this which makes a lot of sense to me. The book has all of the core rules and mechanics used to play the game. It has the character class and customization stuff which is fifty pages alone. It has a detailed Gazetteer of the Ninth World with maps and extended location history and lore. It has fifty pages of NPC's and monsters to choose from. It has forty pages of Cyphers, artifacts and other magical types of items. It has four full fledged adventures for starting GM's to Numenera to get you used to running the game. In the side margins, there are key words with page numbers to refer you to those pages when referencing topics. It has become one of my favorite all in one books and I even call it the "Lexus" of core books because of the quality and effort they put into making this book. The price is up there at $60 but it is 416 high gloss pages and an all in one core book. And did I mention the artwork all throughout it? The artwork is amazing also and on just about every page.
The core book is not the end of Numenera. There are quite a few other books out now for Numenera including two more Bestiaries, two character options books expanding the core classes from three to five, a massive technology guide with nothing but Cyphers, oddities, artifacts, and more. There are even several more 200 page plus Gazateers on the Ninth World, The depths of the seas, outer space, special outer planes, and the setting for which the new Numenera turn based game is located in. There are even quite a few adventures available also. It is a huge game for the short time it has been out and I see no sign of the game slowing down anytime soon.
There are some unique things that I really like about Numenera that is nothing like your standard "D20" types of table top game. The first thing I like is the dice mechanic. The players roll 100% of all the rolls in the games. Players roll their any skill checks, attacks against creatures and the defensive checks versus them whether it be a skill or creatures attack. Then the amount of dice you use for the game is nice too. You use a d20 for all skill checks, a d6 to determine a cypher / artifact level, and percentile die to see which cypher you get from the massive amount of cypher tables there are in Numenera. Now the D20 has quirks as well. If you roll a natural 1, then the game master intervenes into the game with a GM intrusion as they are called. This is where the DM makes something bad happen usually. There are also a bunch of examples of intrusions in the Core books and also several other official PDF's if you need some help. GM intrusions are worth no EXP, which I will touch on here in a short bit. A natural roll of 17-20 are bonus rolls that add more damage and effects the player can choose from. The DC's for all rolls are associated with its difficulty from 0 being routine to 10 being impossible. Then once you have your difficulty, all you do is multiply it by x3 and that is your target number needed for the skill check. So for example if you are trying to jump from one roof top to another which is considered challenging (5) then you would need to roll a TN 15 speed check. Then you can use your effort and lower the DC by a few. I will touch on the ability scores, effort, health next. Effort is something your character gets depending on several factors and effort lowers the DC of difficulties. To put more effort into something costs points from your base stat pools.
The core abilities are short and sweet in Numenera. There are only three. Might, Speed and Intellect. Might deals with health, hardiness, and melee attack stuff. Speed deals with ranged attack stuff, movement, and defensive capabilities. Intellect deals with magical attack stuff, how smart and charismatic you are, and how much mental attack damage you can take. Each ability has a stat pool which is a number based on your ability score, and a few other class options. You also have Edge. This is when you can lower the cost of skills. Your Edge will increase by going up Tiers and which class modifications you get. Your skills cost points from your three base ability pools whether is from Might, Speed, or Intellect. An example is crushing blow may cost X amount of might points from your might pool. Then your Edge over time will reduce these costs to your ability stat pools. Oh yeah, all three of the ability stat pools act as health pools so when all three reach 0. Your character dies.
I mentioned EXP a few minutes ago. EXP is a beautiful mechanic in Numenera and works nothing like traditional games where X monster is worth X EXP and this much EXP is needed for X level. It works totally different and it promotes a lot of role playing. When a GM feels like he wants to do a GM intrusion, he or she does so and then awards the player affected with 2 EXP. that player then has to give away 1 of the EXP and role play out why he or she is giving this EXP to this person. Pretty cool huh. Then you can get EXP as quest rewards or anything you are triumphant with. Now to spend the EXP you can buy your way out of GM intrusions, re rolls of bad rolls, etc. You can also save up a few EXP and upgrade skills and other things pertaining to your character on a list of things you can buy once per tier. Then when you get everything on that particular tier you gain a tier level. This is just like gaining a level. Now the next tier you can buy higher upgraded skills, more stat pools, core stats, etc. It is different which I think is what makes it a great character advancement system.
Some other really neat random mechanic things I like about Numenera are that all weapons do flat damage. The damage range is either 2 for light, 4 for medium, and 6 for heavy weapon groups. Then you can also use effort to increase damage. Armor works as mitigation so if you have plate armor with a rating of 3 than you take 3 less damage every time you take damage unless the attack says otherwise. You can gain back your ability stat pools by doing recovery rolls. You are limited to a total of only 4 recovery rolls a day. The first you can do as an action, the second takes ten minutes, the third takes an hour and the last one takes ten hours. I love this recovery system.
Npc's, or monsters do flat damage and the DC's for them are based off of the level they are X 3. Monsters have a single health pool, and have a bunch of great features to give your players a challenge. They also do flat damage and the players roll their defense checks when the creatures attack them. You could tell a heavy focus was taken when adding monsters into Numenera because they just are not only stats and numbers for attacking but lore is added for each creature. Do they hunt in packs, are they solo predatory hunters? What happend when they see something living? There are size comparison pictures for all of the creatures. Interactions with the creatures are talked about. What types of areas are these creatures found in? What kind of loot they have. And each creature has a GM intrusion as well. And did I mention the art is beautiful.
The final thing I want to mention are the Cyphers, Artifacts, and Oddities. This is the main attraction of the game for me. Cyphers are one use items that are everywhere. Sometimes they even rain down from the sky if there is a tear or rift nearby. Characters can only have a certain number of Cyphers depending on which tier they are and maybe a class feature. The whole point of Cyphers are to use them frequently because you know you will find more. They can be anything from a one use skill from another class to a backback with wings that spawn out for x amount of time so you can fly. They can be a healing potion you chug or a healing syringe to jab into your buddies arm that is dying, to a small timed bomb that can blow up a square city block. There are around a thousand different cyphers and they are all over the 9th world. I also like the way artifacts are handles in Numenera. These are the permanent magic items in the game. They have bonuses and special powers sometimes and they will always work for you until you roll that blasted natural one or any other depletion range of numbers for that particular item. When this happens the artifact will disappear to another part of the 9th world until it is found again. Then there are oddities. These items usually never have anything that influences the game mechanically like Cyphers and Artifacts would. Oddities can be anything from a small pocket mirror that shatters and reforms to an old snow globe where you shake it and tells a story of maybe a battle, a crime, or anything else randomly. Oddities are meant to be injected for the roleplay and to maybe twist or turn the story of the game.
So there ya go everyone. Sorry I went off on a tangent about the game mechanics. It really is a great game. The mechanics are definitely unique but if you ever get a chance to check out any of the free preview PDF's from Monte Cooks website check em out. You won't be disappointed.
I will finish by saying this. I see Numenera as a breath of fresh air and something new. I am glad I took that chance instead of buying another typical D20 from one of the main publishers. I have backed the Numenera Box set, the Into the night Kickstarter and have purchased all of the books, cards, and small adventure PDF's as well. Now all I need are some players in my area. Good luck with that. LOL
Money well spent.
See you guys next month!
I get asked all the time on how I got into Dungeons & Dragons. Its a pretty long story so I hope you guys and gals have a few minutes to read this weeks treasure chest post.
When my parents moved to Florida way back in 1979, it was because they both got jobs out at the Kennedy Space Center for this new thing they called the "Space Shuttle Program." It wasn't like I had much of a choice or anything, I was five years old and my brother was two years younger then me. We moved to an area called Port Saint John and wow, I remember nothing was there. Nothing but a ton of those god damned sand spurs I dived in the middle of when I wrecked my bike learning to ride it.
Now days it is a massive area which I think is actually considered a city now because of the population. Well, when we first moved there there were no schools and we had to be shipped to a small hillbilly town called Mims. This was about about a 20 mile north bus ride to go to my new school. That was just one way now to be clear. It was absolutely horrible. We did not even get a PE or lunch period. I remember that all of us kids that were shipped were being "stored" in portable classes, or trailers. I remember we had a different teacher every week. Our lunched were delivered to us in brown bags but the scary lunchroom lady. God, it was horrible. This went on for me in Kindergarten and then half way through my first grade year. There was no PE there like I said, so therefore no Dungeons & Dragons. lol Why did I even tell you this?
Next, all of us kids were now being shipped south about 10 miles to Cocoa to Fairglenn Elementary. This school was much better and we actually got to eat and have recess with all the other kids that actually went there in the first place. This was for the rest of my 1st grade year until the end of my third grade year. Once again, no Dungeons & Dragons, but I did get introduces to kickball and dodge ball and had the scars to prove it. I loved Pete Rose as a kid so I tried to do one of his slides on the hard orange clay to show off. Yea, not a good idea. I took all the skin off of my chin, elbows and knees. lol
Now Port Saint John is starting to have 3 elementary schools built. Then for my 4th grade year we were shipped north again to Titusville which is in between where I lived and Mims. It was Coquina Elementary, home of the Cougars. I wish you guys could hear me making this ridiculous cougar noise right now. lol Well, I was in the 4th grade now and getting a massive education in our new state of the art EC, or electronic classroom as they called it. It had a pad that you pressed A - D or maybe it was A - E, I can't remember. That classroom was so fun and awesome and was how I was introduced to computers. I actually talked me mom and dad into getting me a Tandy 1000 EX personal computer. I was the most popular kid in town with my dual cassette drives and Earl Weaver baseball. haha
After time in the "EC," we would go to recess for about an hour or so. The school was on a hill and at the bottom of the hill there was a group or four massive trees. These trees were huge from what I remember. There were also a bunch of huge, massive, dirty, smelly, wet, bug and snake riddled tractor tires. I watched these three kids build castles and sword fight in them with sticks, until one of the teachers took them away. They were chasing one another in the huge tractor tires by rolling each other down the hill. I remember they would be filthy at the end of PE. You would literally see nothing but eyes and teeth because they were so dirty.
So after some weeks or watching these other kids have all this fun I finally went over to them and asked them what they were doing. They thought I was going to pick on them or something I think because I was a lot taller than they were but they eventually told me they were playing Dungeons & Dragons. I had no clue what D&D was so I asked them if they could show me how to play because it looked. So they did. They all pulled out their mangled, ripped dirty character sheets out of their pockets and showed them to me. I thought this was so cool because of the numbers and the dice. We would do the rolls first on one of the tires and then act out what happened. What a blast we had.
When I got home from school that day I had to tell my mom about this and I finally drive her batty enough to take me up to Walden's Books in the mall and she bought me a few of the D&D books. I was hooked from that point on. I could not put them down and then the rest is history.