Numenera Compiled I

I’ve been tweeting snippets of numenera lately, and figured I should compile them due to Twitter’s circumscript search results (searching for @zakarntson #numenera produces maybe two results). I haven’t categorized them into oddities, cyphers or artifacts, leaving that decision up to the GM. In the vein of Gene Wolfe & Jack Vance, all vocabulary below is legitimate, if obscure.

  • The malformed stygian cingulata care so little for ontology, concepts often materially and sentiently concretize.
  • The viviparous anapsids of the Tripartite Gardens bear many strange toxins which often impart epochal anamnesis.
  • Of the Tripartite Gardens’ singing stone flowers, the Melancholy Purpur Glossophagine is the largest and most dangerous.
  • Delicate cordovan gloves lined with silver cilia. Offers any user full and dextrous mobility of its many, many fingers.
  • A senticous cube of prismatic sheen. Each thorn, upon pricking the skin, induces a singular emotion or memory.
  • A buried vespiary of palladiated insects, egalitarian, clever and kind. Eager to swap stories of bravery, trickery and lineage.
  • A silicate nautiloid dependent on unknowable quantities. Enraged and confused by audible declarations or visible measurements.
  • An oblong silvered icon floating above an angular patinated spire with no visible support. Unpredictably intercepts messages.
  • Twin conglobate stones etched with balletic megafauna. As the distance between the orbs grows, the dancing approaches bacchanalia.
  • A seeming fly whisk, with aragonite rod and undulating vermillion hairs. Agitates on proximity to ferrous liquids
  • Varicolored nudibranch twisting within a cristobalite-windowed hydrargyrum globe. Whispers false secrets when provoked.


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D&D Next Actual Play: An Unlikely Trio

Cast of Characters:

  • Player Characters
    • Newton the Flask-Filler: Antisocial alchemist looking to secure his apprenticeship under the suspicious Dr. Mouldypage
    • Peyton of the Devil’s Causeway (Known in Skolos as Leofrick Liontear): Unscrupulous scoundrel fleeing a death sentence in Hollow Cove.
    • Frodrick Tenpenny Goodspell: Heartbroken holyman seeking to drown his sorrows in cheap liquor since the discovery of his love with the mayor’s son, Bartholomew Greatmoor V.
  • Non-Player Characters
    • Dr. Mouldypage: An alchemist and tenured fellow at one of Skolos’ revered scholarly institutions, having recently received a budgetary constraint.
    • Cordelia Mouldypage: An archer and swordhand in the city guard, former lover of Frodrick (among others) and currently bedding both Bartholomew and Kur.
    • Bartholomew Cumberland Goodhead Greatmoor V: Dr. Mouldypage’s other, less honorable, apprentice and close companion to Cordelia.
    • Kur Liontear: Peyton’s former criminal partner, now in Skolos running from the same setence he’d pinned on Peyton.

The First Part, or the Meeting of an Unlikely Trio

Within the walls of the Angry Weaver, all player characters are strangers to one another, though each with undiscovered links of unlikely coincidence. Frodrick is deep in his cups beside an out-of-place Newton nursing mild lemon water. Leofrick sits across from his hold friend, Kur, and an unfamiliar (to Leofrick) Cordelia. As it turns out, the Hollow Hand has tracked Kur here to Skolos and now both the ruffians are in trouble. But Kur has a plan to make some money fast and get out of town.

The plan? Some wizard’s department is low on funds and is forcing said wizard, one Dr. Mouldypage, to cut down to a single apprentice. The old goat’s already decided on Bartholomew, but he’s told Bart both kids get let go unless an artifact from beneath Skolos is found for him. And all of this overheard by an unnoticed Newton outside the professor’s door. With style becoming of his profession, Bartholomew delegated. And now the expedition’s organization is up to a hungry Kur (himself having been recommended by his oft bedmate Cordelia, the doctor’s daughter).

Newton recognizes Cordelia, but not the man she’s with. Didn’t he see her last arm in arm with that rat Bartholomew?

“She looks like my Cordelia!” wails the priest, “They all look like my Cordelia!”

So now that the responsibility’s on Kur’s shoulders and because (as he assured the apprentice) Kur gets things done, the desparate scoundrel is now assailing his ex-friend with dubiously backed promises of treasure and safety.

Leofrick leans in with a conspiratorial eye, “Come close, Kur.” Kur dips forward to listen. A swift thrust of the head, a shattered nose spurting blood.

“It is Cordelia!” shouts the priest and stumbles from his seat.

Kur is face down now and with takes Leofrick’s boot to his upturned ass. Leofrick spits after an ex-companion led away by his woman, “And don’t you fucking come to me again!”

The scholar bursts from the bar, “The scoundrel left a bag! And what’s this? A map? Some strange stone cube?” He glances to the other two. “I’ll be needing some help. For an expedition.”

Leofrick nods, “I keep half,” and snatches half the copper from the open bag.

Frodrick stands unsteady. “I only want Cordelia to feel as miserable as … as …” and trails off in deep and addled thought.

“And I want tenure. It’s settled then,” announces Newton, “we leave immediately.” A quick glance at the map, “Er, once we discover where to go.”

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Adventures in Space!!


Play Adventures in Space!! →

Pit your iron resolve and chromium blasters against harsh planets, strange aliens and dastardly Villains. A very simple pulpy space game.

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Castle Ravenloft: A Very Young Crowd

★ ★ ★

Castle Ravenloft played with two- and four-year olds. Five to ten minutes.


Allow each player to pick a Hero (emphasize that the Heroes are blue). You should also play, both leading by example and because the kids . Place all Dungeon Tiles face down in a pile. Place the Start Tile face up in front of the players. Tell them to put their Heroes around the stairs. They will likely pick any spot on the Start Tile. This is okay.

Play passes from one player to the next.

  • Move: If it’s your turn, move your Hero a few squares, preferably to a tile with an unexplored edge. If it’s a kid’s turn, ask them to move their Hero, but don’t enforce any limitations.
  • Explore: Draw a Dungeon Tile and connect it to the board, arrow facing the connection. It’s tough to enforce much beyond this.
  • Fight: If there aren’t any monsters on the board, or if desired, grab a monster and place it on the new tile. The Hero can then move to the monster (or stay where they are) and roll their dice. If any other player acts to move their own Hero to attack and roll their own dice, allow it. If any pluses are rolled, the monster dies.

Victory: A turn or two in advance, tell the players that the game will be over soon. When the final enemy is placed, repeat to the players that they’re about to win. When the monster is defeated, be sure to give the game a dramatic closing while beginning to put the game away.

Defeat: The only defeat is for you, if the players get bored and run off without helping clean up.

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Troll Son

An earlier sketch of the captive troll

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Troll Matron

The poor troll mother, bandaged and sour.

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Play Slurps →

Ever wanted to be a prophet, handing out tenets from above? So would everyone else. Play a group of supplicants, each vying to make their commands the holy truth for all time.

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Anna, Bridge Knight

Likely my last 7 knights for 7 bridges image for the fourth feedback loop (i.e., initial post→first drawing→first chapter→Anna & the Captive Troll).

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Troll Captive

Another troll inspired by Judd’s written response to my troll image inspired by his 7 knights for 7 bridges post.

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Hel-Space Axewurm

One of my favorite regions of Sharth is Midgoth, where the Vanirium PsyLords hold an uneasy truce with the Council of Aesiroth, and all other sorts of ridiculous twists on Norse mythology. The best twist is the Hel-Space paradimension, ruled by Shub-Hel, the Flayed Queen-Mother, where the damned souls of Midgoth merge with Shub-Hel’s Lovecraftian spawn. For Sharth this usually means lots of eyes and armored tentacles.

  • Multiple Hel-eyes: Nethervision, +17% natural aim
  • Nidhoggite Skull +5 vs all metals save Valhallium. +2d10 to all skull-based damage

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