A few weeks ago I was able to run a quick playtest for Monte Cook's brainchild; Numenera. To acclimate ourselves to the system, a couple of friends and I decided to try the first Corebook Adventure - The Beale of Boregal.
During the course of play we ran across a few rules inquiries, since it was my first time running the game I didn't have the basic rules memorized which resulted in a few play errors.
GM Intrusion - Initially I thought any player can refuse a GM intrusion but it turns out as one of the
players stated they need to spend 1 XP to actually refuse the XP, what I was doing was they simply reject the intrusion and gain the 2XP to divide.
Effort, Edge and Ability Use - We had a short discussion on the uses of Effort, Edge and Ability uses.
The situation was the player used Thrust and Effort to increase the damage by 3 on the same action, we were discussing on how much was the total might cost of the action. I was saying he only needed to spend 2 points of Might since He can use Edge to reduce the cost of Thrust(1) and Effort(3) by 2 since I thought they were two separate instances of edge use. However according to the rules you can only apply Edge once So the cost should have been 3 in either form of application.
However with all the errors in the first playtest do note it was more for a learning experience than an
actual campaign(unless the players want it to be). Also I can always use "Im the GM rule" to make an
excuse for myself.
Well on to the Meat of the Playtest Report.
Jose - Malachore A Mystical/Mechanical Nano who fuses Flesh and Steel
DJ - Zurt Namir A Hardy glaive who Rages
The adventure begins as the pair of adventurers undertake the pilgrimage of the Wandering Walk. At a segment of the pilgrimage called The Fifth Stretch Malachore and zurt join up with the other Peregrines at the Mouth Cairns Camp, one of the few locations considered safe along the Wander. These cairns are made up of small hollows tucked behind a shadow of a hulking metalic sculpture each marked by a short round wall made up of the jaws of dead peregrines. In the camp the pair mingle with the pilgrims telling stories and listening to rumors mainly about the recent attacks on the pilgrims taht have passed this section of The Wander. Various theorys fly about from common bandits to the mysterious Slaytongue. The night passes by uneventfully once the stories of the recent deaths died down and the pair slept safe and sound. The next morning as they waken from the hustle and bustle of people preparing for the days journey, as Malachore and zurt prepare for the journey themselves the sound of thundering hooves in the distance begins to gather everyones attention. The pilgrims frantically search the area for the sound fearing an army of bandits; fuelled by the previous nights stories, as they attempt to identify the sound. One of the pilgrims makes out a single creature in the distance; she identifies it as a scutimorph, coming across the desert sands from the direction of its natural habitat; the false woods, heading for the camp at a staggering pace, carrying at least two riders. More rumors begin to fly among the pilgrims as the hear the news, the prevalent shock comes from the apparent reason that no-one rides
Eventually the creature arrives with its passengers, a young man clearly injured from a fight and a young girl clutching her head clearly distraught. Neither passenger bear the marks of a Peregrine. Malachore and zurt notice the strange connection between the girl and the giant insectoid creature and investigate the two newcomers. The boy introduces himself as Patel and learn that the girl is his sister Seria. The boy relays that their family is under attack by creatures called pallones, and are in dire need of help. Patel begs the two adventurers to take his sister to a Cylion Basin and she is in desperate need of protection, while he returns to his family and help them fend off the pallones. zurt discusses that they should help Patel defend his village first before bringing the girl to Cylion Basin while Malachore asserts that the girl is probably in dire need of help from her condition and she might not make the trip if they take too long, he says it would be best to split up one of them to help defend the village and the other to take the girl. As Seria hears this suggestion she immediately interrupts and says she can take care of herself she would rather have the two adventurers help defend her family while she heads to Cylion Basin alone.
Malachore insists that she wont make it in her condition; hiding the fact that he knows she controls the scutimorph, and tells Patel to take Zurt as he is a more capable fighter, to head to the village as they're wasting time. Patel simply nods and thanks the two warriors and leads the way to his village. Left with no choice Seria agrees to Malachore becoming her escort and mentally commands the scutimorph to pick them both up and head for Cylion Basin.
By early afternoon zurt and Patel Arrive at the False Woods, which from afar looks like an actual
cultivated forest, with each tree appearing to be the same height and diameter. However the False Woods prove aptly named as they finally enter it; each "tree" is apparently a strange ancient synth tubes with a strange living mesh at the top. zurt finally notices the "bark" as scutimorphs wrapped around the tubular structures. Patel warns the glaive to be careful around the scutimorphs as they tend to be agressive when their territories are encroached upon but will not attack if left alone. Irony however strikes a few minutes later as the two enter the deeper parts of the forest; a scutimorph suddenly drops from its tube and begins to attack the pair. Patel immediately notices the creatures strange behavior saying that this has never happened before.
zurt tells Patel to be ready to defend himself as the giant insectoid begins to lunge at him with its
enourmous mandibles. Zurt deftly dodges the attacks with his combat expertise; not to mention his trusty shield, and retaliates with his broadsword, he easily hits the giant centipede like creature however the blow barely manages to crush the scutimorphs thick chitinous armor. Patel follows suit in desperation striking with his short sword however he encounters the same problem as Zurt. The scutimorphs hide seems to shine with a slick coating of a strange substance after being struck twice by the two humans. It lets out a shriek of anger and attacks the glaive once more but Zurts shield proves a formidable defense. Zurt attempts to strike back again but his sword slides off the beasts hide; it seems like the strange substance on its body created an even more natural defense for it. Patel strikes again in desperation but somehow the beasts slick body now becomes sticky causing him to lose his grip on his sword. The scutimorph strikes back again but the stalemate continues, like a battle between the strongest shield and the strongest spear. Zurt uses all of his abilities to strike once more this time crushing one of the insect's plates but as the chitin cracks under the onslaught a large volume of the strange fluid bursts from it trapping Zurt's weapon. Noticing the futile effort of the battle Zurt orders Patel to fall back, the boy releases his grip on his sword and shouts follow me the village can't be far these beasts don't stray too far from their trees! Zurt nods in acknowledgement as he gathers his strength to pull out his blade from the scutimorph's back and just in time as well, a quick glimpse at his surroundings enables him to notice the rest of the herd begin to take notice of the battle, some uncoiling from their trees. The two men quickly run away from the battle and the creatures return to their trees.
On the way to the village Patel recalls the strange actions of the scutimorph repeating that not once
have they been attacked by these beasts for no reason. Zurt notices that the boy is hiding something
but doesn't pressure him, maybe he'll get clearer answers when he reaches the village.
The two men arrive by the village near sundown. They see several of the townspeople attempting to salvage any damaged goods they had, repairing broken walls, preparing weapons and defenses should they be attacked once more. Zurt notices that these villagers aren't trained for war but are handy with spears he assumes they probably hunt often but the damage on the village seems to be from an attacker they aren't used to. Before the glaive could ask the boy on what they should do next he notices the villagers take arms and he readies himself thinking maybe these villagers are wary of strangers but on a second look Zurt observes that their hostility isn't aimed at him but rather strange translucent disc like creatures floating just a few feet above them. Patel runs to a nearby spear; probably left on the ground from the last battle, and screams, "ITS THE PALLONES! THEY'RE BACK! PLEASE SIR ZURT HELP US!" as he strikes a nearby pallone. The warrior draws his broadsword once more hoping to help his employer; however a disc like creature stands in his way separating him from Patel; left with no option he duels against this creature readying his shield for defense. He strikes landing a clean blow on the flat alien creature, wounding it badly but not enough to kill it. The pallone begins to spin like a circular saw and heads for Zurt's neck but his wall like shield prevents the beast from severing his neck as he feels the pallone gouge deep lines on his shield.
Zurt sees Patel's duel ongoing through his peripheral vision; he notices the boy is more capable with
a spear than a sword; deftly dodging the pallones blade-like edges and striking them on their softer bodies. Zurt strikes his opponent once more immediately killing it, the creature falls like a feather to the ground. The glaive takes this opportunity to head to Patel to provide backup, on his way he sees a third creature break away from a larger group attacking the villagers flying rapidly to their location. Patel's concentration wavers causing him to miss and get hit by a pallone's flyby in turn. Zurt jumps by Patel's side weapons ready and attacks the wounded creature but his form isn't stable and misses the gelatinous mass entirely. The same pallone suddenly rolls itself into a cylinder and flys through the gaps in Zurt's defenses and unfurls itself causing a deep gash at the Glaive's side. Not even flinching from the pain the Hardy Glaive quickly spins and swings his broadsword striking the flying disc on its back cleaving it in two.
The third pallone arrives and attacks Patel while Zurt is preoccupied, wounding the boy gravely. In anger the young man strikes back and trips as he is suddenly thrown off balance. Two more pallone break from the herd as they see an easier target lying on the ground. The glaive knows if the boy can't stand on his feet he will die and quickly stands over him like a tower maintaining his sight on the enemies. Once the pallone moved in closer he strikes like an angry cobra hitting the creature on its sword like edge. He sees the two other pallone almost nearby; he knows he'll end up dead too if he doesn't finish it quickly. Strikes once more at the nearby assailant finally killing it this time. He then runs to the approaching attackers hoping to draw their attention away from Patel. His threatening taunt works; a little bit too well as another pallone breaks from the pack and heads his way. Two of them now circle around the glaive like a pair of vultures each attacking in turn, Zurt's defense manages to block one but the other attacks his blind side, red blood begins to stain his clothes and he drops his broadsword as he winces in pain. Luckily, Patel's Spear was nearby, he rolls for it quickly grabbing the spear and stabs one of the pallone's belly. He draws forth most of his energy in this attack instantly killing the creature. Two remain in his vicinity and both fly by hoping to land killing blows on the glaive. But he deftly dodges both with his shield.
Gracefully swinging the spear Zurt continually attacks the remaining two pallones, and after a few minutes of battle he finally kills the remaining two exhausting himself in the process. He regains his composure ready for a next set of attackers but as he looks towards the rest of the villagers he lets out a sigh of relief seeing that the remaining creatures are either dead or beggining to flee. Patel finally wakens as the battle ended and thanks the warrior for saving his life. Zurt is told to wait as Patel calls for his family. The Glaive is quickly introduced to Patel's mother and grandfather, they offer him food and a place to stay for the night as thanks, Zurt also learns of the true nature of the attack; people have been blaming Seria for the recent series of events due to her mysterious power to control the scutimorphs. The family believes Seria has nothing to do with them they cite the recent attack as an example, if it were indeed their youngest then the pallones wouldn't have attacked the town. The grandfather fears a more sinister reason is at work; he recalls that right before the pallones attacked a few days ago Seria started to deal with a sudden headache and she feels it comes from the west near The Embered Peaks, their grandfather believes that its possible there is a Numenera that is either broken or being used for evil means is the cause of all this. Zurt takes note of his new found knowledge, for some reason maybe honor, he feels as if its his duty to solve the mystery of Embered Peaks. Once he finishes helping the town reorganize itself he retreats into Patel's family home enjoys a hot meal and bath and sleeps.
Meanwhile Seria and Malachore's travel to the town of Cylion Basin passed by mostly uneventfully, would be bandits probably deterred by the massive scutimorph mount. They safely arrive at the Cylion Basin, somewhat like a tourist town attracting many travelers because of its mysterious 6 colored basins which are said to heal various ailments. Immediately upon arriving the pair are bombarded by several merchants and peddlers selling their various wares, however Malachore simply stonewalls the merchants as they look for the store they need. At the far end of the main boulevard they find a store marked by a sign with an actual brain; which is likely not human, nailed to it. In here they meet an old woman; with several shards of metal and synth portruding in semi circles around her eyes, the base of her nose and the corners of her mouth; she asks them to come inside saying she knows what they seek. She introduces herself as Darvin, a specialist in illnesses of the brain. She asks for the pair's story while examining Seria.
Darvin says she can help the young girl but is in need of materials for the remedy; however she cannot get the materials on her own due to a pack of Broken Hounds who've suddenly taken residence in the towns synth garden. A known community resource, many other doctors have been unable to replenish their supplies of precious medicinal materials due to these invaders. The old woman tells Malachore it's dangerous to fight these beasts but should he decide to rid the town of these pests they will likely reward him should he manage to return.
Malachore accepts the task and asks the woman what she needs for the medicine. She gives the Nano a sheet of paper listing the materials she needs along with accompanying pictures to help him identify them. After a short trek to the garden Malachore finds the pack of hounds lazily wandering about the garden grounds. He walks closer gathering the strange dog-like creatures with heads like an avian's skull. What seems to be the Alpha hound rises from its resting spot and lets loose a strange growl that seems to be a mix of chirping and guttural noises alerting its 5 other pack mates. Malachore
decides that maybe intimidation might be a good way to end this without a fight and slams the ground
with a force of energy. Though impressive his taunts do nothing but raise the hound's aggression as they begin to charge at the young man. Malachores reflexes prove essential as he manages to step back a few feet and perform an esoteric attack striking the beasts mind with his mental projection. One of the beasts slow down obviously in pain from the human's attack, but shortly resumes its charge. The 6 beasts then work in concert to attack the lone human however his metallic arms and armor negate most of the damage. The young man continues pounding the enemy hounds with his mental projections finally leaving one of them a brainless husk. The beasts continue their relentless assault regardless of losing one of their pack, they lunge at the Nano from various directions, each biting and scratching at him. Malachore notices that the beasts primitive weapons barely deal any damage against his tougher armor and fights on, straining his mental abilities to their fullest. A few short minutes of this dance however causes a second broken hound to whine in pain with its strange mix of dog bark and birdcall marking its death.
The rest of the hounds notice that they can do nothing against their superior opponent; the alpha breaks off and issues what seems to be a cry for retreat causing the rest to flee. They run far away from thenano eventually heading to the horizon far from sight. Malachore takes a minute to catch his breath then explores the beautiful artificial garden filled with both organic, artificial an biomechanical ingredients for various medicinal purposes. After finding the ingredients that Darvin needed he decides to take a few ingredients for himself as well; hoping to maybe create an salve to numb the phantom pain of his old limbs.
He returns to town bearing the news of the Hounds defeat and is greeted with cheer and admiration, but he returns to Davrams shop immediately. She thanks him and tells him that the girl will be cured by the next day. The old crone also grants them free lodging for the night, and a hot meal as well. She thinks of herself as chartiable as she sees Malachores wounds and damaged parts and offers to heal them free of charge in thanks for fending off the hounds with a few potions to boot.
The game took longer than I had initially assumed mainly because we were still acclimating to the rulesespecially coming from a mostly D&D oriented environment but overall I found the game a blessing to DM'sNot much to say for now as it was a quick session just to learn the basics of the game but stay tuned formore
I was fortunate enough to play under Philgamer last Friday and was able to learn more about the pros
and cons(though very minimal mostly nitpicking) of Numenera; I'll post that in a few days once I collate the stories from the other players for now check out Raymz' review on numenera on his blog!