Posted on November 19, 2019
Numenera 2: Meet the Crew
The character creation process in Numenera (both iterations) does a great job of providing prompts for character motivation and connections. In the last campaign most people picked those up and ran with them, while Bryce didn’t care too much for the prompts he landed and created his own fascinating background. Either way, prompted or freehand, the system lets you be pretty creative and the payoff is well worth it. For the GM, it’s a goldmine, because players create their own story hooks and strings with which to puppet them in the right direction. And that’s so much better than just being told what your character is doing and why.
We sacrificed some of that free-wheeling creative energy in character creation by putting so much work into the place from which the characters originate. That setting IS the character background, but experienced in different interesting ways by the creations of the players. So you can’t have the same breadth of possibilities in this deliberately isolated setting; but since this story is about how the isolation of the Lone Makhtesh ends, that’s appropriate. The possibilities, they will come to the players.
Ben is playing BROGAN, a Civic Delve who Sees Beyond. Brogan was a mid-level Barrier, the local safety patrol. Think of them as the Coastguard Corps of Engineers Fire Dept and you’re about there. Their responsible for ensuring that the Lone Maktesh’s environment doesn’t kill its inhabitants, I guess. But all that is in the past, as Brogan has made the lateral move to the Agents. Agents are responsible for making sure that the Lone Makhtesh’s inhabitants don’t kill each other, I suppose. They are problem solvers, first and foremost, tasked by the Council of Elders to *vague-handwave* make things better, using their good judgment.
Brogan is rumored to know have an innate ability to know when things are about to go wrong. But the truth is, he is is observant and pays attention to what’s going on around him in his community. But the truth is also that he can see some things others can’t and though they don’t often make sense to him, he can sometimes use this unusual sense to anticipate and solve problems.
Brogan was tasked with assembling a group of people to help him in a dangerous undertaking, so he approached four other people – jeez, I assume these were the first people he approached, maybe this is his B team – to accompany him on this ill-defined job.
Greg is playing DEL, a Mystical Jack who Dances With Dark Matter. He’s an old guy, early 70s, son of storied Barr’n who established the eponymous settlement on the western shore. Barr’n of course, disappeared mysteriously and his son is no less mysterious. A hermit among people, scavenging when no-one notices. He skulks, for want of a better word, always in the shadows. At least they should be shadows. Maybe they’re shadows?
Living on the fringe of such a small, isolated and communal society isn’t particularly easy, but Del has managed it, slipping by largely un-noticed and unlocked for, but none of that works on Brogan. Brogan sees him just fine, where others struggle. Bringing Del into the fold is Brogan’s attempt to make the shifty old mystic a productive member of society.
Noe is playing FRIST OF THE TOWER, a Mechanical Wright who Builds Tomorrow. Frist is a relative newcomer. She and her mother were pulled from the far shore of the lake by – amongst others – Brogan in his capacity as a Barrier.
Her mother is mentally diminished to the point of insensibility and Frist cannot remember anything of her past. Yet her affinity with the Numenera has made her useful to the “Divers” who cautiously plunder the Ruin Beneath The Water. She’s obviously talented, if a bit… off.
Bryce is playing GERMAIN; a Gregarious Jack who Radiates Vitality. This age-indeterminable Adonis is a scion of a well rooted Lone family and has lived… a lot. In that he has never left the Makhtesh, but people of all ages remember when he was their age. It could just be a flaw in perception or memory, but no-one can put a finger on exactly how long he has been around. This aside, there is something about GERMAIN that people are drawn to so he finds himself well thought of and well connected.
Brogan has cause to be uneasy around Germain though. The details are inconsequential at the moment, but while he was a Barrier, Brogan could have sworn that Germain died in an accident; one which Brogan uncharacteristically failed to prevent. Brogan felt responsible for Germain’s supposed death, but it turns out… he didn’t die. So Brogan isn’t sure how he feels.
All those who arrived due to the Bright Ones bore a swirling pale mark on their left wrist. Their children did too. Not a pattern, not a random blotch either. They’re all pretty much the same, no matter who has one or how many generations removed from the captivity they are. But Germain’s isn’t. Germain’s is warped or… faded. Changed in some way.
Last on the list (but first in our hearts) is STRABO, played by Rolland. Strabo doesn’t have any weird past with Brogan. He doesn’t give him the willies or blow him away with some uncanny ability. Strabo is simply well known as the best damn tracker in the Makhtesh and the steep mountain valleys to the north and west.
Strabo’s work is primarily tracking down rustlers, either feuding families from Yolshead or the rare miscreant outlaw. Either way, they’re getting found. His brothers take care of the rest of the successful family holdings on the western slopes, but that isn’t enough for Strabo and the wanderlust that sees him tracking over every valley and ridge is starting to grow larger than the Makhtesh can contain.
So these are the people Brogan assembled on the vague request of Councillor Ebric, who had some problem at the local poultry farm. Cool, totally sounds like he needed to assemble a real A-team.