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Countdown to Numenera

Tomorrow I’ll run my first game of Numenera. In addition to being the first time I run this game it will be the first time that I run a game for such a large group. When everyone shows up as planned, I’ll have a group of six player, including three people I never ran a game for. I have to admit, I am a little bit nervous.

The rules are easy enough, so I don’t see any problems on that front. And if everything fails I am sure I can rely on Marcus, who is at least as much excited about the game than I am. What concerns me a bit is the setting itself. While I totally love the weirdness and the everything-is-possible attitude I’m not exactly sure if I can get this weirdness across. It doesn’t help that the descriptions in the adventure I will be running are a bit vague. A few more illustrations would have helped. I guess I’ll have to rely on my improvisational skills.

In order to reduce my nervousness I already read the adventure several times, printed and bound the books I got as PDFs, charged my portable loudspeakers, and put some fitting music onto my Android tablet. It might surprise some of you that a veteran GM is still nervous when running a game. I think in my case it’s some kind of stage fright. Especially when my depression was worse this lead me to cancel whole campaigns, but luckily things are better now. I’m also pretty sure that all doubts and fears will be gone as soon as we’re actually playing.

Overall I have some high hopes for Numenera. If things turn out well I might run it on a small convention we’re planning in October. It might also become my go-to fantasy roleplaying game. The rules are so straightforward and simple that it’s the perfect pick-up-and-play game, especially if you’re comfortable with the setting.

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I’ve got Numenera on my Mind

Last Friday the Fallout campaign I was running came to an end. So we started thinking about what I could run next. For a while we thought about another Fate game, perhaps even Atomic Robo, but then I proposed Numenera. My players had a look at some of the artwork on the internet and listened to me describing the setting in a few broad strokes and were sold immediately.

So I used the last few days to read the core rule book. I quickly realized that most of the rules are pretty simple but should be quite effective, even though I still struggle with the Effort rules. Perhaps I have to check out a few actual play examples to understand how it works. But overall I like the rules a lot.

But the highlight of the game is of course the setting. The combination of the fantasy, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic genres is pretty awesome, the Ninth World is huge, weird, and not too detailed which pretty much allows the GM to do their own thing.

Have you played or run Numenera already? What are your experiences? What are your thoughts on the setting? Please share your comments below.

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A new Edition is always a good Thing, isn’t it?

Everyone is talking about the new edition of D&D right now. But as usual not everyone is happy about a new edition. But isn’t a new edition a good thing? It shows that there’s still interest in the game and the company behind it is driving things actively forward. Often clunky rules are fixed and things are streamlined, in other cases new options for players and GMs are made available.  But alas it’s not always all sunshine and flowers.

More often than not, new editions come with a slew of problems. In some cases the old material becomes obsolete and you have to make the hard decision whether to stick to the old edition and stick with a system which is not supported anymore or you can embrace the new one, which usually means buying a lot of books again, just to get the updated versions of material you already have.

And the longer you wait, the more severe the problems become. In most cases old editions go out-of-print as soon as the new edition is announced. Some books quickly become pretty rare and people are paying ridiculous prices on eBay to get their hands on a copy. And if even the PDF version are removed from stores you either need to make the switch or grudingly pay vast sums just to get that one book you still needed.

Since I enjoyed the Shadowrun 3rd edition game a friend run for me recently, I decided to get a couple of 3rd Edition books for myself. But alas that’s easier said than done. I was able to track down used copy of the core rules (I decided to go with the German version this time, since that is what my friend uses), but most of the supplements are either extremely expensive or not to find anywhere. It’s even worse with the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition, which is supposed by many to be the best version of Shadowrun available. I already own a PDF copy, but I also would love to have a print copy as well. Alas I had no luck tracking one down. For some people this is no big deal, especially when they picked up everything they wanted when the older edition was still widely available.

This is just an example what issues you could face if you decide to play an older edition of a game. So I can understand the concern of people who love D&D 4th Edition, or who prefer other games who were made obsolete by new editions. Of course it’s unreasonable to ask publishers to keep old editions in print indefinitely. In most cases at least being able to purchase old games as digital editions is a great help. So, what’s your stance on this subject? Please share your thoughts below!

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