Numenera 0: Getting started, Six Degrees of Sharad Talaar, The New Crew.

“Do you have time to read this pamphlet about the Good News of how easy character creation is in Numenera?”
Image pinched from a blog that does a good job of explaining the main rulebook.

Character creation is something I’ve always liked; it’s really interesting to hear what people want to play. Playing with pregens is its own kind of fun too – there is something neat about playing completely against type or contrary to how you would normally build a character. I think Numenera – being a high stakes, but wide margins kinda game, where there are lots of ways to contribute – makes this kind of easy.

Group creation is just as fun: Why are you doing these things? Specifically, why are you doing them together? The rulebook provides some really great suggestions or you can make up your own. You can also set your own character goals, for which you receive XP if you make progress. So that’s cool. How it all goes down when the rubber meets the road is a different matter and again, its own sort of fun.

Six degrees of Sharad Talaar

Ben and Noe wanted to make their own characters, although Ben elected to play another Jack, because that was going well for him. Rolland decided to reskin the Glaive he had been playing and keep the same build, but with a different background and story.

Alone of all of them, Bryce decided to keep his character – I can see why, Sharad Talaar is a pretty neat character and as a Nano who Leads brings some unique stuff to the table. Bryce seemed to be having fun with him anyway, and got good mileage out of his abilities, so why change? Now this just adds a layer of character to Sharad – what has he been doing these past five years and why?

The players decided the fate of the transdimensional Narthex that they had explored in the previous games while we were playtesting and stretching our legs with the system:

  • Although it took a while, Faroon’s gift from the ‘wishing well’ aboard the solar citadel was eventually discovered to be a navigation device allowing the Narthex to be essentially piloted from place to place. It was still bound by certain rules, but instead of hopping between locations in the Ninth World on a predestined but meaningless circuit, the orb allowed Faroon to choose their next location and exercise a certain amount of control over its departure and arrival.
  • This led to the establishment of a trading route quite unlike any other, as Faroon et al. became owners of a location-skipping caravan of merchants, artisans and travellers, housed in the ever expanding ‘known’ interior if the Narthex. Expeditions were funded, delving into the unexplored reaches of the massive structure. These yielded new treasures and wealth, as well as troubles and dangers. But by and large the Unanchored Bazaar(I just made that name up, because that’s what people will call the sudden market that appears and disappears as the Narthex comes and goes) flourished. Sharad was instrumental in the initial organisation and foundation of the Unanchored Bazaar but decided to move on once the internal settlement was established, but as far as we know Caris, Kalain and Faroon still abide within the Narthex.
  • This works out great from a GM standpoint, because it’s a pretty great deus ex machina, especially if long travel is necessary.

The New Crew

The we got to finalizing character stories enough to understand why everyone is here, doing what they are doing. These character concepts aren’t set in stone, they’re still soft and pliable as the game goes on and this write up is subject to my slowly disintegrating memory.

Sharad Talaar, an Intelligent Nano who Leads: Sharad’s reputation as a Nano lingers under the weight of ‘murky’ rumours about some of his past research and many people are wary of his reputation. Those that know him know of his wise, measured counsel and his astonishing powers of recall: he can remember everything that has happened to him, in startling detail. He is seeking new opportunities to use his natural talent at leadership in new ventures. Sharad knows both Meef and Red Pepper.

  • Meef presented a fascinating case for study and Sharad helped Meef establish some degree of control over his phasing. He finds Meef to be a competent and quick learner and has come to value his company and advice.
  • He knows Red Pepper as a friend of Meef’s and Red Pepper showed a persistent interest in Sharad’s studies (I can’t remember why, but Bryce initially set up their relationship as being thet he knew someone ‘nosy’). He is willing to tolerate her inquisitiveness because she seems to be very well connected throughout the Steadfast and the Beyond.

Meef Allare, a Mechanical Jack who Exists Partially Out Of Phase: I got the Mechanical Descriptor confused with the Fuses Flesh And Steel Focus and thought Meef was actually mechanical, rather than mechanically inclined. Meef is a Jack with a knack for the numenera, which has been expanded upon by the experienced and knowledgeable Sharad. Meef initially sought help from Sharad because he exists not-quite-here, which makes it very difficult to interact with stuff, which is mostly here and occasionally there. But Meef isn’t in either of those places sometimes and he isn’t sure why. Meef is motivated by his need to discover his origins as he never knew his parents.

  • Meeting up with Sharad is likely a turning point in Meef’s life – not only did Sharad help figure out how to stay mostly on this plane of existence, the two share an interest and facility with the numenera. While Sharad knows a lot about the numenera from study and research, Meef has a better natural feel for manipulating objects from the distant past.
  • Meef also knows Red Pepper, the two of them have a shared interest in martial pursuits. Whether that means they are gym buddies, shared a tutor or studied at a particular dojo, we haven’t discovered yet. But the two fight very well in tandem with each other.

Red Pepper, a Graceful Glaive who Wields Two Weapons: Is Rolland’s reworking of the Caris pregen character with a brand new, tasty background. Red Pepper is the nom de plume of a writer of chapbooks detailing her travels across the the Steadfast and the Beyond. She enjoys fame among those who lap up tales of far off places and exotic locales and her books sell very well. In reality, Red Pepper is the daughter of a wealthy merchant, with contacts across much of the settled world and has travelled the lanes of commerce across a great deal of the known world. She wields a pair of light axes.

  • Red Pepper knows Meef from their time spent fighting as a team in sparring practice somewhere. They’re presumably good enough friends that they’ve decided to see more of the world together when Red’s sister came calling.
  • Red Pepper knows Sharad through their mutual friend Meef and seems interested in him and his past.
  • Red Pepper is the only other character who knows Giana Sten, because Giana Sten is her kid half-sister. Giana insists that they flee the Steadfast and Red Pepper is smart enough to not get into a battle of wills with Giana, as Giana is (she knows from experience) the most obstinate person in the world.

Giana Sten, a Strong-willed Jack who Focuses Mind-Over-Matter. Noe switched to Jack from Kalain the Glaive and to spunky teenage girl from burly dudebro. Giana is gifted – somehow – with telekinetic abilities. At the moment her abilities are in their infancy; she can manifest small effects but she’s very unlikely to give up (at anything, really) working at making them better. She needed to flee the Steadfast – her reasons are her own and I don’t think she has shared them with everyone yet; but she needed to go on the lam in a hurry.

  • Giana knows only her older sister (she’s the youngest) Red Pepper, obviously, and Red Pepper knows that if Giana needs to go there’s virtually nothing that would actually stop her, so she may as well go along.