GM Intrusions E43 - Fear My Frammer Hammer!

I’ll start out the episode by talking a bit about my numerous Numenera games. I’ll talk a bit about Gen Con and let you know about some Numenera games I’m running that you can still get in on. I’ll also give you a run-down of some of my favorite Cypher System communities online so you can meet other players and GMs. In Under the Lens I’ll talk about pricing cyphers and discuss how creature level in Numenera isn’t as simple as it seems. Thanks to the generosity of a fan, I’ll be reviewing the Creature Deck for Numenera. I’ve got an update for you on the Yellow Swarm in A&P, and I’ll be covering a truly terrifying creature—the Neveri. Finally, Scott Robinson has some inspirations for The Strange.

TM and © 2014 Monte Cook Games, LLC

TM and © 2014 Monte Cook Games, LLC

Opening Segment

My Games

The Devil’s Spine

I’m still going to review this when we’re done! 

The Obsidian Monolith

Our fourth session is this week, starting the second adventure.

My Experience with the last Beyond All Worlds session

My group:

1.  Mad Nano who Exists in Two Places at Once

2.  Hideous Jack who Never Says Die

3.  Doomed Glaive who Consorts with the Dead

4.  Honorable Jack who Siphons Power

Using Strange Aeons – going for psychological/cosmic horror.

I will also review this adventure on the show once we've finished it.

Patron campaign

I now have two players. This is a Tier 6 Patron reward. If you’re interested, sign up before the end of August to get in on the September session. Find the Patreon button on the website, at the top of the shownotes.

Gen Con!

E44 will come out on schedule next week. However, next week is going to be crazy, so I’m going to cover Gen Con related stuff this episode.

I’m not sure yet about episode 3 of The Obsidian Monolith.

Thursday 1:00 – 2:00 pm The State of the Ninth World - Westin: Capitol II

Saturday 11:00 am - 1:00 pm The Strange Launch event - Westin: Capitol II

Saturday 9:00 – 11:00 pm MCG Fan Bash – Omni Severin Lobby

MCG still needs someone to run Numenera from 2-6pm on Saturday.

I will also be running at least three non-official Numenera games:

1.  Thursday 3-7 pm

2.  Friday 12-4 pm

3.  Saturday 4-8 pm

You can sign up here.

I may add a session Friday and/or Saturday evening if needed.

I am organizing this through Google+, so you’ll need to be on G+.

CypherSystem Communities


Numenera Fans on Google+

Numenera Reddit

The Strange

The Strange RPG on Google+

The Strange on Reddit


Cypher System on Google+

GM Intrusions G+ Community - All Cypher System games

Beware the Frammer Hammer!

Just a reminder there will be a conversion guide for Numenera and -The Strange, so you can take all the Numenera foci (or most of them anyway) and use them in The Strange. Listen to my interview with Bruce Cordell on E34 for more.

Under the Lens 

What does a cypher cost anyway?

Lately I’ve been going purely case-by-case. Does the NPC even want the cypher, do they have any use for it? If not, it’s worthless. If they do, I use the 10-50 shins of an oddity as a guideline and go from there, remembering that a cypher is one-use while an oddity lasts forever.

I’m really considering just saying that cyphers are almost always worthless. They’re far too dangerous for most people to want to deal with, and they’re specialization of purpose and limit to one use really makes it unlikely they’d be worth much, or anything, as a commodity.

You can’t go by creature level in Numenera

Yellow swarm example from before.

I ran the first session last night, and it went quite well. One word to the wise though:

Don't use the optional accelerator at the beginning of the combat. Unless (maybe) you have a party of all glaives focused on combat, there is no way your PCs will be able to handle this. If, on the other hand, you have a more normal Numenera group with at least one or more characters focused on non-combat things, you will have a TPK on your hands.

I had a party of 4, with a glaive, 2 jacks and a nano.

Here are some reasons why a group of 4 tier 2 PCs can't take on an accelerator.

  • It has 30 health and 4 armor, so unless PCs are efforting on damage, they won't be doing much, if any, damage to it.
  • It is level 6, level 5 for speed defense, so PCs will need to spend effort just to hit it, and even then will often miss.
  • The above 2 points result in the PCs expending a lot of pool just to have a hope of having an effect on it.
  • It is a difficulty 9 to gain one's trust, so any non combat option will be extremely difficult to pull off.
  • It can do up to 14 damage to three PCs every round! It will take two DC 15 speed defense rolls to avoid this damage, every round, which will require effort.
  • So just doing damage to the thing and trying to avoid hits will very quickly deplete PCs' speed and/or might pools.
  • It has a movement of long and limited flight ability, so escaping will be impossible without flying or teleportation cyphers.
  • If the PCs roll any (or many) 1s, they're going to seriously be in trouble.
  • If this is the first encounter, they won't have much if any xp to reroll bad rolls.

This is yet another example of how you can't trust (or solely go by) the level of a creature in numenera. According to the corbebook, a single level 6 creature should be a difficult but defeatable foe for beginning characters, but in reality, this specific level 6 creature is too much for tier 2 characters, unless they're all very combat focused and/or have some powerful cyphers that just happen to be exactly what they need to defeat it.

GM Tip

Allowing PCs to have defaults when they have Edge (e.g. I have 3 speed edge, so I always effort on all speed tasks, or I have 1 Might edge, so I use pierce on every ranged attack). Saves time.

Starwalker Review – Numenera Creature Deck

Thank you Gray Detrick

Numenera Creature Deck on DriveThru RPG

Currently $19.99 for the deck and pdf (which is also the price for just the deck). Make sure you click the radio button and you’re getting what you think you’re getting (default is pdf, $7.99).

High quality poker type cards, full-color. Very attractive overall.

Text is easy to read.

Picture, creature name, level, health, damage inflicted, movement, modifications, combat, page number.

Not included: Description &/or introduction text, motive, environment, interaction, use, loot.

Not all combat given on longer entries: e.g. Dedimaskis, Latos.

Some of the cooler creatures have been skipped (e.g. Hexen), perhaps for this reason.

Cards come alphabetized, which is nice.

The Nevajin is upside down, but that’s the only one I noticed.

These are definitely supplemental to, and not a replacement of, the corebook and Bestiary. The cards will serve you well (for the most part) when running the encounter, but you will want to refer to the book when preparing. There may be times you need the book during the encounter as well, e.g. with more complex combat abilities, if you need to know interaction, environments, loot, etc.

However, it is much easier to show the PCs the picture this way. You could even let them pass it around if they don’t peek.

The color edging around the borders of the art side is a little distracting, and actually interferes with the art on some of the cards.

It’s suggested in the info card that comes with that you can draw randomly for an encounter, but I don’t think this is really practical because the creature may be too high or low level or may not fit the environment.

All the creatures aren’t included. I think I would have preferred multiple decks with all creatures (e.g. corebook deck, bestiary deck 1, bestiary deck 2, etc.).

There’s no box or packaging for the cards.

Bottom Line:

If you run online these cards probably won’t be terribly useful to you. Sure you could draw a creature randomly, but it’s just as likely it won’t fit as it will, and you’ll have to refer to the book anyway. Better to use the encounter tables in the Bestiary.

If you run in-person games, you may really enjoy these cards. They are quick to refer to in-game for the simpler creatures, and easier to juggle than a book. They’re also a nice way to show the players what the creature looks like.

If you’re a Numenera collector like me, you’ll definitely want these cards. If you run in person games, they may work really well for you, you’ll have to decide. You’ll still need to bring your Bestiary with you. It’s up to your whether the convenience these give with some creatures is worth it.

The Cypher Chest is coming soon, which will have all three decks (Creatures, XP and Cyphers) and will give you a place to store and organize your cards.

Antagonists & Protagonists – Neveri

Bryan Kershaw called in with a great way to use the Yellow Swarm as a protagonist! If you’ll recall, back in episode 40, Death By Yellow Swarm, I had a hard time thinking of a way to use the Yellow Swarm as a protagonist since you can’t communicate with it.

Since I was talking about horror earlier, I thought I’d cover a great monster to bring some horror into your game—the Neveri.


Strange Encounters with Scott Robinson – some inspirations for The Strange.


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