Numenera - Seeking the Past
List of Foci
Bears a Halo of Fire
You can create a sheath of flames around your body. You leave scorch marks wherever you go, and you can’t handle combustible objects without first dousing your inherent flames. If you perform esoteries (or similar effects beyond the abilities of normal humans), all your effects are tainted with flame. Fiery visuals accompany your powers, and in some cases, your predilection for flame actually reshapes your abilities to take on a fiery nature where none existed before.
You probably wear red and yellow, or perhaps black. Although most of those who take up this mantle are nanos, flame-wielding glaives and jacks are fearsome indeed.
Connection: Pick one other PC. Through a quirk of fate, your fire cannot harm that character.
Additional Equipment: You have an artifact—a device that sprays inanimate objects to make them fire-resistant. All your starting gear has already been treated unless you don’t want it
Fire Esoteries: If you perform esoteries, those that would normally use force or other energy (such as electricity) instead use fire. For example, force blasts from Onslaught are blasts of flame, and Flash is a burst of fire. These alterations change nothing except the type of damage and the fact that it might start fires. As another example, Barrier produces a wall of roaring flames. In this case, the alteration changes the esotery so that the barrier is not solid but instead inflicts 1 point of damage to anything that touches it and 4 points of damage to anyone who passes through it.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The target or something near the target catches fire.
Major Effect Suggestions: An important item on the target’s person is destroyed.
Tier 1:Shroud of Flame (1 Intellect point).
At your command, your entire body becomes shrouded in flames that last up to ten minutes. The fire doesn’t burn you, but it automatically inflicts 2 points of damage to anyone who tries to touch you or strike you with a melee attack. Flames from another source can still hurt you. While the shroud is active, you gain +2 points of Armor that protect only against damage from fire from another source. Enabler.
Carries a Quiver
The archer is a skilled combatant, deadly in any fight. With a keen eye and quick reflexes, you can eliminate foes at range before they reach you. A good archer also learns to make his own arrows and bows. You probably wear no more than light armor so you can move quickly when needed. Many glaives and jacks are archers.
You can use this focus with crossbows instead of bows if you wish.
Connection: Pick one other PC to be the true friend who gave you the excellent bow that you currently use. Secretly pick a second PC (preferably one who is likely to get in the way of your attacks). When you miss with a bow and the GM rules that you struck someone other than your target, you hit the second character, if possible.
Additional Equipment: You start with a well-made bow and two dozen arrows.
Minor Effect Suggestions: Hit in a tendon or muscle, the target takes 2 points of Speed damage as well as normal damage.
Major Effect Suggestions: The target is pinned in place with an arrow.
Tier 1: Archer
To be truly deadly with a bow, you must know where to aim. You can spend points from either your Speed Pool or your Intellect Pool to apply levels of Effort to increase your bow damage. Each level of Effort adds 3 points of damage to a successful attack. Enabler.
Fletcher. You are trained in making arrows. Enabler.
Commands Mental Powers
You have always had special abilities that others didn’t seem to share. Through practice and devotion, you have honed this unique talent so that you can harness the power of your mind to perform deeds. No one can tell that you have this ability just by looking at you, although you wear a crystal or jewel somewhere on your head to help focus your power. Either this focusing object was given to you by someone who recognized your ability, or you came upon it by accident and it triggered your abilities.
Some people with mental powers—often called psychics or psionics by ordinary folks—are secretive and a little paranoid. Although nanos frequently command mental powers, psionic glaives or jacks are not uncommon.
Connection: Pick one other PC. You have found that this character is particularly tuned into your mental powers. While you’re within short range of him, the two of you are always in telepathic contact, and he is never harmed by your Psychic Bursts.
Additional Equipment: You have a crystal or jewel artifact that, when worn against your forehead or temple, adds 1 point to your Intellect Pool. If you’re ever without the artifact,
subtract 5 points from your Intellect Pool; the points are restored if you regain the item.
Mental Esoteries: If you have the Mind Control esotery or the Mind Reading esotery, you’re automatically trained in it. If you have both esoteries, you’re trained in both. Enabler.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The range or duration of the mental power is doubled.
Major Effect Suggestions: You can take another action on that same turn.
Tier 1:Telepathic (1+ Intellect point).
You can speak telepathically with others who are within short range. Communication is two-way, but the other party must be willing and able to communicate. You don’t have to see the target, but you must know that it’s within range. You can have more than one active contact at once, but you must establish contact with each target individually. Each contact lasts up to ten minutes. If you apply a level of Effort to increase the duration rather than affect the difficulty, the contact lasts for 28 hours. Action to establish contact.
To say that you have a way with animals and nonhuman creatures doesn’t begin to cover it. Your mastery and communication with beasts is positively uncanny. They come to you fearlessly, and it’s not uncommon for birds to alight on your shoulder or for small animals to climb up your arms or legs.
You probably wear tough clothing and have a disheveled or grizzled appearance that suggests a rugged, outdoor life. Perhaps you even smell like an animal.
Any type of character is likely to have this focus.
Connection: Pick one other PC. That character seems to disturb your creatures in a way that you can’t explain. You know that you must keep your animals away from him if possible, or you might lose control of them.
Additional Equipment: You have three days’ worth of food for your beast companion, plus a harness, collar, or similar accouterment.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The duration of calmness or control is doubled.
Major Effect Suggestions: The duration of calmness or control extends to 28 hours.
Teir 1:Beast Companion
A level 2 creature of your size or smaller accompanies you and follows your instructions. You and the GM must work out the details of your creature, and you’ll probably make rolls for it in combat or when it takes actions. The beast companion acts on your turn. As a level 2 creature, it has a target number of 6 and a health of 6, and it inflicts 2 points of damage. Its movement is based on its creature type (avian, swimmer, and so on). If your beast companion dies, you can hunt in the wild for 1d6 days to find a new companion. Enabler.
Gravity must have been quite a concern for the people of prior epochs because there are many paths within the numenera to control it. Through a quirk of fate, some unique device(s), or supreme devotion (or a combination of all three), you have learned to tap into the power of gravity. With one foot planted in the distant past, you are a mysterious individual. Most likely, you are also older, having spent much of your life honing your odd, ancient talents. You might prefer billowy garments that display your mastery of gravity’s pull and conceal your identity and intentions.
No one type of character is more likely to control gravity than another, but the power is rare.
Connection: Pick one other PC. In the recent past, while using your gravitational powers, you accidentally sent that character hurtling into the air or plummeting toward the ground. Either way, she barely survived. It is up to the player of that character to decide whether she resents, fears, or forgives you.
Additional Equipment: You have a pen-sized oddity that tells the weight of whatever you point it at (within short range). The weight is displayed on a small glass plate in runes that only you can decipher.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The duration of the effect is doubled.
Major Effect Suggestions: An important item on the target’s person is destroyed.
Teir 1: Hover (Intellect 1)
You float slowly into the air. As your action, you can concentrate to remain motionless in the air, or float up to a short distance, but no more; otherwise, you drift with the wind or with any momentum you have gained. This effect lasts for up to ten minutes. If you also have the Hover esotery or trick of the trade, you can hover for twenty minutes and move your normal speed. Action to initiate.
You use the numenera to create holographic images that appear real. You are, in effect, an artist—a crafter of light and sound. Holographic images can never inflict direct harm or exert real force, but they can fool creatures, changing opinions and even behaviors if you craft them cleverly. You likely dress with flair and color. The appearance of things is important to you, both their beauty and their ugliness. You are a visual performer who can entertain, terrify, or fool everyone you encounter.
A nano is the most likely character to be an illusionist, but jacks find illusions to be helpful as well. The rare glaive illusionist can find ways to use tricks in battle.
Connection: Pick one other PC. This character is never fooled by your illusions and is never affected by the trickery of your special abilities. You can choose whether or not you know this fact.
Additional Equipment: You have an oddity that appears to be a piece of clear glass in a synth frame. By manipulating hidden switches on the frame, you can make random moving images appear on the glass. The images are usually strange and sometimes incomprehensible.
Psychedelic Esoteries: If you perform esoteries, they take on flamboyant visual and auditory qualities of your choosing. This alteration changes nothing other than the appearance of the effects. For example, your attack esoteries might look like monsters made of energy that assail your foes. Your Stasis esotery might look like a tentacled beast that holds the victim in place. Your Teleportation esotery might seem like a hole in space opens up and swallows you.
Minor Effect Suggestions: Your illusion has a special quality to it—perhaps an observer sees an image of something from his past.
Major Effect Suggestions: The illusion lasts for one hour, or if it already lasts that long, it lasts for 28 hours.
Tier 1: Minor Illusion (1 Intellect point).
You create a single image of a creature or object within immediate range. The image must fit within a 10-foot (3-meter) cube. The image can move (for example, you could make the illusion of a person walk or attack), but it can’t leave the area defined by the cube. The illusion includes sound but not smell. It lasts for ten minutes, but if you want to change the original illusion significantly—such as making a creature appear to be wounded—you must concentrate on it again (though doing so doesn’t cost additional Intellect points). If you move beyond immediate range of the cube, the illusion vanishes. Action to create; action to modify.
Crafts Unique Objects
With the remains of previous civilizations all around, the raw materials for a crafter offer themselves to those who know where to look. You are a maker, a crafter, and a builder. You might start out working with wood or metal as understood by the people of the Ninth World, but eventually you will master even the mysteries of the ancients. Call it magic or call it technology—you know that you can master it and use it for your own designs.
You likely carry a wide array of tools and spare parts wherever you go. Your work apron is probably a mainstay of your wardrobe, its pockets and loops brimming with the instruments of your trade. Your calloused fingers might be stained with grease that will never come completely clean, but these marks are badges of honor among your kind.
Nanos make interesting crafters, supplementing their esoteries with tools and devices. A glaive builder likely focuses on weapons or armor. Jacks might be the most common crafters, making things that work in a variety of ways for a variety of uses.
Connection: Pick one other PC. The character has an extra item of regular equipment that you fashioned for her. (She chooses the item.)
Additional Equipment: You begin the game with a bag of light tools, the tools needed to make your first-tier crafts, and any normal item (of level 1 or 2) that you can make with your skills. You also have an additional oddity.
Minor Effect Suggestions: Any rolls you make regarding that artifact gain a +1 bonus for 28 hours.
Major Effect Suggestions: Any rolls you make regarding that artifact gain a +2 bonus for 28 hours.
Tier 1: Crafter.
You are trained in the crafting of two kinds of items. Enabler.
You are trained in identifying the function of any kind of device. Enabler.
Electromagnetism is a fundamental force in the universe, and it is yours to command. You are a master of metal. You probably wear a lot of metal, perhaps as part of your clothing or armor, as part of your accessories (such as jewelry or piercings), embedded into your body surgically, or in some combination of these options.
No one type of character is more likely than any other to employ magnetism, although glaives who wield weapons and wear armor will find it an interesting complement to their powers.
Connection: Pick one other PC. Whenever you use your powers, the metallic items on that character’s body shudder, rattle, clink, and shake if he is within short range.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The duration of the effect is doubled.
Major Effect Suggestions: An important item on the target’s person is destroyed.
Tier 1:Move Metal (1 Intellect point).
You can exert force on metal objects within short range for one round. Once activated, your power has an effective Might Pool of 10, a Might Edge of 1, and an Effort of 2 (approximately equal to the strength of a fit, capable, adult human), and you can use it to move metal objects, push against metal objects, and so on. For example, in your round, you could lift and pull a light metal object anywhere within range to yourself or move a heavy object (like a piece of furniture) about 10 feet (3 m). This power lacks the fine control to wield a weapon or move objects with much speed, so in most situations, it’s not a means of attack. You can’t use this ability on your own body. Action.
You are an entertainer: a singer, dancer, poet, storyteller, or something similar. You perform for the benefit of others. Naturally charismatic and talented, you have also studied to master your art. You know all the old poems, songs, jokes, and stories, and you’re skilled at creating new ones, too. You probably wear flamboyant or at least fashionable clothes and use cosmetics, tattoos, or hair stylings for dramatic effect.
The role of the entertainer fits the jack best, but glaives and nanos sometimes entertain as well.
Connection: Pick one other PC. This character is your worst critic. Your abilities to help or inspire others don’t function for her.
Additional Equipment: You start with a musical instrument or other tools needed to perform.
Minor Effect Suggestions: You enchant the target, who remains enchanted as long as you focus all your attention on keeping her that way.
Major Effect Suggestions: The target is forever favorably disposed toward you.
Through wit, charm, humor, and grace, you are trained in all social interactions other than those involving coercion or intimidation. During rests, you put friends and comrades at ease so much that they gain +1 to their recovery rolls. Enabler.
Exists Partially Out of Phase
You have the ability to change your phase state. In fact, you’re always slightly out of phase, giving you a ghostly translucence. With concentration, you can pass your hand through a solid object, allow a solid object to pass harmlessly through you, or literally walk through walls. However, moving in and out of different phase states requires extreme force of will and can be mentally taxing. The explanation for your strange power lies within some aspect of the numenera. Perhaps the ability emerged through the use of (or exposure to) lingering transdimensional technology or as the result of an encounter with a creature not native to this world or dimension. Perhaps one of your ancestors first developed the power and passed it down through generations.
You might do whatever you can to play up your translucent appearance by wearing diaphanous, billowy clothing, or, depending on your personality, you might do just the opposite. Jacks enjoy the infiltration possibilities of changing their phase state, and nanos appreciate the defensive capabilities. Glaives can use the offensive and defensive aspects but might find them a bit hindering as well.
Connection: Pick one other PC. You have known that character for a while, and he helped you gain control of your phase states.
Minor Effect Suggestions: While out of phase, you also gain +1 to all Speed defense tasks.
Major Effect Suggestions: While out of phase, you are also invisible.
Tier 1:Walk Through Walls (2 Intellect points).
You can slowly pass through physical barriers at a rate of 1 inch (2.5 cm) per round (minimum of one round to pass through any barrier). You can’t act (other than moving) or perceive anything until you pass entirely through the barrier. You can’t pass through energy barriers. Action.
Explores Dark Places
You explore the foreboding ruins and mysterious locales of the ancient eras, trained in such activities by those who have gone before you. You’re the archetypical treasure hunter, scavenger, and finder of lost things. You spend so much of your time in the dark that you slowly adapt to it, almost becoming a creature of the gloom yourself. Even in civilized areas, you prefer to keep to the shadows.
Most likely, you wear dark clothing to help you blend into the blackness. On the other hand, you might wear sensible garments and gear because you have serious and dangerous business to attend to in the dark.
Jacks in particular are suited to exploring dark places; those who do so are called shadowjacks. Glaives who follow this path are known as shadow warriors, and nanos are called shadowcasters.
Connection: Pick one other PC. This character has been your adventuring partner in previous expeditions, and the two of you work so well together that you both gain +1 to any die rolls when you collaborate on the same task, fight the same foe, and so on.
Additional Equipment: You start with an explorer’s pack. If you already have one, you can instead take 50 extra feet (15 m) of rope, rations for two more days, and two minor glowglobes.
Dark Esoteries: If you perform esoteries, they make almost no sound, and whatever visual displays they produce are dark and shadowy. These alterations change nothing other than the appearance of the effects. A Flash esotery is a silent burst of shadows, a Barrier esotery is a mass of shadowy wisps, and so on.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The target is also dazed for one round, during which time the difficulty of all tasks it performs is modified by one step to its detriment.
Major Effect Suggestions: The target is also stunned and loses its next turn.
*Tier 1:Trained Explorer. *
You are trained in searching, listening, climbing, balancing, and jumping tasks. Enabler.
Fights With Panache
You know that style is at least as important as substance. Defeating foes is secondary to looking good while doing it. Some might call you a swashbuckler or daredevil. You leap through the air, make a flourish with your weapon, and attack, usually with a clever, biting show of wit. Your enemies hate you, but your allies adore you. Just watching you fight is entertaining.
You very likely wear no armor, instead preferring stylish clothing—perhaps even a hat with a feather. Jacks and glaives make the best swashbucklers, and they are the most common types of character to fight with panache.
Connection: Pick one other PC. You’re always trying to impress this character with your skill, wit, appearance, or bravado. Perhaps she is a rival, perhaps you need her respect, or perhaps you’re romantically interested in her.
Additional Equipment: You begin with a set of extremely stylish clothes and a jeweled weapon.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The target is so dazzled by your style that it is dazed for one round, during which time the difficulty of all tasks it performs is modified by one step to its detriment.
Major Effect Suggestions: Make an additional attack with your weapon on your turn.
Tier 1:Attack Flourish.
With your attack, you add stylish moves, entertaining quips, or a certain “something” that entertains or impresses others. Choose any number of creatures within short range who can see you; each of them gains a +1 bonus to its next die roll. Enabler.
Focuses Mind Over Matter
Telekinesis. Psychokinesis. Mind over matter. The power has many names, but in the end, it all boils down to one thing—the molecules that make up all matter are yours to command. You likely call yourself a telekinetic or just a TK.
Many telekinetics prefer to wear tight clothing without much accouterment so there is little another TK could grab hold of psychically. On the other hand, you have the power to create very minor telekinetic effects at will, so your hair might always be in motion, you could have a few tiny objects floating around you, or you might wear a long cape that’s always billowing.
Jacks are the most likely characters to be telekinetics, but glaives find that the abilities add to their combat prowess, and nanos, of course, appreciate the additional power.
Connection: Pick one other PC. This character can cause your telekinetic powers to act oddly. Every once in a while, if he stands directly next to you, your powers are cancelled, but at other times, they seem improved when used near him.
Mental Esoteries: If you perform esoteries, those that would normally use force or other energy instead use telekinetic force. For example, a Flash or an Onslaught force blast is a telekinetic blast from your mind. This alteration changes nothing except that you don’t need a free hand to perform esoteries. Enabler.
Minor Effect Suggestions: An object moves faster or more efficiently.
Major Effect Suggestions: You can move or affect twice as much as normal.
Tier 1:Deflect Attacks (1 Intellect point).
Using your mind, you protect yourself from incoming attacks. For the next ten minutes, you are trained in Speed defense tasks. Action to initiate.
Fuses Flesh and Steel
At some point in your past, some of your organic parts were replaced with artificial components. (Alternatively, you belong to a secret race of biomechanical hybrids.) These artificial components might be subdermal, or they might resemble more overt metal or synth plating on your skin. They can also take the form of threadlike tendrils of circuitry winding across your flesh. Whatever their appearance, these components give you special abilities. As you advance, you can add to, modify, or discover new functions for them. Unfortunately, your artificial body also has special requirements when it takes damage.
You probably wear a cloak with a hood or something similar to hide your artificial parts from those who would persecute you. Because your components are tricky to repair, as time goes on, it might become more difficult to conceal your true nature, with exposed circuitry, metal plates, and more in a state of partial disassembly.
Anyone—glaive, jack, or nano—might be a cybernetic organism.
Connection: Pick one other PC. This character knows your true nature, even if no one else does. If your components are not particularly hidden, she knows a different secret of yours, such as a preprogrammed word that will shut you down for ten minutes.
Additional Equipment: You have a bag of light tools and a variety of parts to repair yourself.
Minor Effect Suggestions: Your servos learn from your successful actions. You gain a +1 bonus to similar actions involving the same task (such as making attacks against the same foe or operating the same device).
Major Effect Suggestions: You discharge a small pulse of power into your foe. Make an immediate attack against that foe (using the same stat as the action that caused the major effect). If the attack succeeds, it deals 4 points of electrical damage.
Tier 1:Enhanced Body.
You gain +1 to Armor, +3 to your Might Pool, and +3 to your Speed Pool. Enabler.
Traditional healing skills, medicines, and techniques work only half as well for you. Each time you start at full health, the first 5 points of damage you take can never be healed in these ways or recovered normally. Instead, you must use repairing skills and abilities to restore those points. For example, if you start with a full Might Pool of 10 and take 8 points of damage, you can use recovery rolls to restore 3 points, but the remaining 5 points must be restored using repairing methods.
Howls at the Moon
Sometimes the numenera is a double-edged sword. You are cursed and blessed to be able to transform into a powerful creature, drawing additional mass from a transdimensional source. You and the GM should work out the exact nature of the creature, including its appearance, but it’s a wild beast of rage and blood—at least until you learn to control it. Creatures like you are often called “lycanthropes.” Style and appearance are probably low on your list of concerns. Your clothes might be ragged because your transformation is hard on them (or they’re cheap because you know they’ll be destroyed the next time you transform).
Anyone—glaive, jack, or nano—can be a lycanthrope, although a glaive likely benefits the most from the transformation.
Connection: Pick one other PC. That character is able to soothe you when you’re in beast form. You’ll never attack him while transformed, and if he spends three consecutive turns using his action to calm you down, you can revert to your normal form without having to make a roll.
Additional Equipment: You have an accurate chronometer artifact that always lets you know when the next transformation is coming.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The target is so intimidated by your bestial attack that it is dazed for one round, during which time the difficulty of all tasks it performs is modified by one step to its detriment.
Major Effect Suggestions: Your attack conveys a small bit of your lycanthropy. If your foe survives, one month later, he transforms into an uncontrolled beast. The GM decides what happens from there.
Tier 1:Beast Form.
On five consecutive nights each month, you change into a monstrous beast for up to one hour each night. In this new form, you gain +8 to your Might Pool, +1 to your Might Edge, +2 to your Speed Pool, and +1 to your Speed Edge. While in beast form, you can’t spend Intellect points for any reason other than to try to change to your normal form before the one-hour duration is over (a difficulty 2 task). In addition, you attack any and every living creature within short range. After you revert to your normal form, you take a –1 penalty to all rolls for one hour. If you did not kill and eat at least one substantial creature while in beast form, the penalty increases to –2 and affects all your rolls for the next 28 hours. Action to change back.
Hunts With Great Skill
You are a tracker. Perhaps you hunt animals or more deadly creatures. Perhaps you go after people as a bounty hunter, law enforcer, or killer for hire. Whatever form your hunting takes, you are trained in stalking your quarry and bringing it down. You are a dangerous individual.
If you hunt animals or creatures, you might carry the trophies of past kills, such as teeth or skins. If you’re a bounty hunter, you probably wear whatever your quarry would find most intimidating so it feels as though it has no chance of getting away from you.
Most hunters are glaives, but jacks and nanos bring unique skills to the chase.
Connection: Pick one other PC. That person once saw you show surprising mercy toward your prey, and now you hope she keeps that information quiet—it might harm your reputation.
Additional Equipment: You wear boots that muffle your footsteps, giving you a +1 bonus to any roll made involving sneaky movement.
Minor Effect Suggestions: You can attempt an intimidating task to cause your foe to immediately surrender.
Major Effect Suggestions: Your foe pauses, terrified by your prowess, and takes no action on his turn.
You are trained in following and identifying tracks. Enabler.
You are trained in all types of movement tasks (including climbing, swimming, jumping, and balancing). Enabler.
Using charisma, natural leadership, and perhaps some training, you command the actions of others, who follow you willingly. You are a commander, a captain, a leader, or a general. Your skills allow you to make people do what you want, but you also have the wisdom to know what actions would be best for your followers and allies. Since you need the respect of others, you probably dress and carry yourself in such a way that inspires, endears, or intimidates. You have a voice suited to barking orders that can be heard even on a noisy battlefield.
Glaives make excellent military leaders, but a jack could easily lead a group of explorers or a den of thieves. A nano might be the head of a group of “mages” or scholars, or she might have a gang of bodyguards as followers.
Connection: Pick one other PC. That character was once a follower of yours, but you have since grown to think of him as a peer.
Additional Equipment: You have an artifact that allows you to tag up to seven followers. By looking into the glass plate on the device, you can determine their distance and direction relative to you. The tagging process is somewhat demeaning, so it is likely that only your followers would ever submit to it.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The next time you attempt to command, captivate, or otherwise influence the same foe, the difficulty of the task is decreased by one step.
Major Effect Suggestions: The foe is influenced, captivated, or otherwise affected by your ability for twice as long as normal.
*Tier 1:Natural Charisma. *
You are trained in all social interactions, whether they involve charm, learning a person’s secrets, or intimidating others. Enabler.
*Good Advice (1 Intellect point). *
You have a clear mind for determining the best way to proceed. When you give another character a suggestion involving his next action, the character is trained in that action for one round. Action.
Lives in the Wilderness
You dwell in the wilds. You probably have done so most, if not all, of your life, coming to understand the mysteries of nature, weather, and survival. The ways of flora and fauna are your ways. Your rough, rugged clothing shows little concern for style. Most of the time, covering yourself in natural smells to keep your scent from arousing suspicion in the wilderness is more important than bathing to keep yourself presentable to other humans.
Glaives and jacks are the most likely characters to live in the wilderness, perhaps working as guides, hunters, trappers, scouts, or trackers. A nano that does so might be seen as a nature priest or wild wizard.
Connection: Pick one other PC who isn’t from the wilderness. You can’t help but feel a little contempt for that character and her “civilized” ways, which show disdain for all things natural and (to your mind) true.
Additional Equipment: You have a directional compass.
Minor Effect Suggestions: A foe that is a natural creature flees rather than continue to fight you.
Major Effect Suggestions: A foe that is a natural creature becomes warily passive.
Tier 1:Wilderness Life.
You are trained in climbing and swimming tasks. Enabler.
Wilderness Lore. You are trained in wilderness navigation and in identifying plants and creatures. Enabler.
Protecting yourself is obviously important in dangerous situations, and you are particularly good at it. Cautious and prudent, you learn techniques to defend against all kinds of attacks, both physical and mental. The winner is often the last person standing, and you’ve done all you can to ensure that person will be you.
You carry a shield and probably wear the best armor you can find.
Glaives make excellent defensive masters, but jacks and nanos also find at least some of these skills of great value.
Connection: Pick one other PC. This character protected you from harm recently, and you feel indebted to him for saving your life.
Additional Equipment: You have a shield.
Minor Effect Suggestions: You gain a +1 bonus to Speed defense rolls for one round.
Major Effect Suggestions: You gain a +2 bonus to Speed defense rolls for one round.
Tier 1: Shield Master.
When you use a shield, in addition to the asset it gives you (lowering the difficulty of Speed defense tasks by one step), you can act as if you are trained in Speed defense tasks. However, in any round in which you use this benefit, the difficulty of your attacks increases by one step. Enabler.
You have worked long and hard with one particular type of weapon: swords, axes, daggers, whips, or whatever you choose. Thus, you are a swordsman, an axemaster, a mistress of knives, or whatever is appropriate to your chosen weapon. A master of the rapier is different from a master of the warhammer. You might wear a symbol—a badge, a pin, a tattoo, an amulet, certain colors, and so on—that indicates the school in which you trained, the style of fighting you have mastered, or the name of your mentor. Your weapon is almost certainly your finest possession. Not only is it well cared for and of high quality, but you probably keep it in a beautiful scabbard, harness, belt, case, or something similar.
Many glaives are weapon masters, but sometimes a jack might choose this path, particularly with lighter weapons.
Connection: Pick one other PC. That character shows potential in the use of your weapon. You would like to train her, but you’re not necessarily qualified to teach (that’s up to you), and she might not be interested (that’s up to her).
Additional Equipment: You have a high-quality weapon of your choosing.
Weaponry Esoteries: If you perform esoteries, your attacks always look like your chosen weapon. So the force blast of the Onslaught esotery appears to be a large weapon made of force, and the Flash esotery produces a flurry of weaponry. These alterations change nothing other than the appearance of the effects. As another example, Barrier becomes a wall of swirling blades of energy. This alteration changes the esotery such that it is not a solid barrier but rather inflicts 1 point of damage to anyone who touches it and 4 points of damage to anyone who passes through it.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The target is so dazzled by your expertise that it is dazed for one round, during which time the difficulty of all tasks it performs is modified by one step to its detriment.
Major Effect Suggestions: Make an immediate additional attack with the weapon as part of your turn.
Tier 1: Weapon Master.
You gain a +1 bonus to damage with your chosen weapon. Enabler.
The murderous assassin is a master of dealing death. No one is better at sneaking into a location, eliminating a target, and slipping out again. Obviously, a professional killer is not likely to have a lot of friends. You probably wear dark colors—black, charcoal grey, or midnight blue—to help blend into the shadows. But since you’re also a master of disguise, in truth you could look like anyone.
Any character could be an assassin. Jacks are the most likely choice, but nanos with their esoteries or glaives with their combat abilities would make efficient killers as well.
Connection: Pick one other PC. That character knows your real identity, profession, and background. To all others, the truth about you is a closely guarded secret.
Additional Equipment: You start with a disguise kit and three doses of a level 2 blade poison that inflicts 5 points of damage.
Minor Effect Suggestions: No one but the foe notices that you make the attack.
Major Effect Suggestions: If you have poison amid your belongings, you were able to apply it just before the strike, adding the poison’s effects to the normal attack damage.
Tier 1:Surprise Attack.
If attacking from a hidden vantage, with surprise, or before an opponent has acted, you reduce the difficulty of your attack by one step. On a successful hit with this surprise attack, you inflict 2 additional points of damage. Enabler.
Trained Assassin. You are trained in stealth and disguise tasks. Enabler.
The berserker is a feared fighter who cannot be stopped. You put yourself into a howling battle frenzy that can make you a terror on the battlefield. You might hail from a less civilized society, perhaps even a tribal one. You likely wear little or no armor so as not to restrict your speed or maneuverability. Your clothing is probably simple and utilitarian.
Glaives make the best berserkers.
Connection: Choose one other PC. You feel strangely protective toward that character and don’t want to see her come to harm.
Minor Effect Suggestions: When fighting multiple foes, you knock one into another, putting both off balance. As a result, treat both foes as one level lower for one round.
Major Effect Suggestions: Your foe is terrified of your rage and uses his next two actions to flee.
Tier 1: Frenzy (1 Intellect point) When you wish, while in combat, you can enter a state of frenzy. While in this state, you can’t use Intellect points, but you gain +1 to your Might Edge and your Speed Edge. This effect lasts for as long as you wish, but it ends if no combat is taking place within range of your senses. Enabler.
Rides the Lightning
The ancients harnessed electricity in strange and wonderful ways. Through practice and inherent ability (or the subtle use of hidden or implanted devices), you control the same energy. Not only can you create and discharge electrical power, but you can eventually learn to use it to transport yourself.
You probably wear tight-fitting clothing that allows you to move quickly. Your garments might be blue and black, perhaps with a lightning-bolt motif.
Although nanos seem most suited to wielding lightning, jacks can make good use of the varied lightning abilities.
Connection: Pick one other PC. This character has been your friend for a long time, and you have learned to bring her along when you ride the lightning. If the character is standing right next to you, you can take her with you when you use the Bolt Rider or Electrical Flight powers. (Normally, neither ability allows you to transport other creatures.)
Additional Equipment: You have a bag of miscellaneous batteries and power cells. Whenever you find a new device that operates on batteries or cells (GM discretion), there is a 75 percent chance that the bag contains one that will power it if it depletes.
Electrical Esoteries: If you perform esoteries, those that would normally use force or other energy instead use electricity. For example, a Flash or an Onslaught force blast is a blast of lightning. This alteration changes nothing other than the type of damage and the fact that it might start fires.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The target is dazed by electricity for one round, during which time the difficulty of all tasks it performs is modified by one step to its detriment. Electricity can also shut down an android, robot, or other automaton for one round.
Major Effect Suggestions: Devices filled with electrical power explode. You can target and destroy an artifact that a foe is holding or wearing.
Tier 1: Shock (1 Intellect point).
Your hands crackle with electricity, and the next time you touch a creature, you inflict 3 points of damage. Alternatively, if you wield a weapon, for ten minutes it crackles with electricity and inflicts 1 additional point of damage per attack. Action for touch; enabler for weapon.
Charge (1+ Intellect points).
You can charge an artifact or other device (except a cypher) so that it can be used once. The cost is 1 Intellect point plus 1 point per level of the device. Action.
Talks to Machines
Since you were young, you had an affinity for machines. It seemed almost like you were speaking to them. You were. You have the ability to use your organic brain like a computer, interfacing “wirelessly” with any electronic device. You can control and influence them in ways that others can’t. Computers are your friends and companions. You have also learned to repair machines of all kinds because the better they work, the better off you are as well.
You likely wear a tool belt full of various implements, and machine oils stain your clothes and fingertips.
All types of characters can spend their time talking to machines, although this practice fits the nano best of all.
Connection: Pick one other PC. That character seems to have a terrible relationship with machines—or at least the machines that you communicate with. If she is next to a machine that you interact with in a friendly manner, that machine is treated in all ways as being one level lower than normal (unless doing so benefits you or her, in which case the level does not change).
Additional Equipment: A bag of small tools.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The duration of influence or control is doubled.
Major Effect Suggestions: The duration of influence or control becomes 28 hours.
Tier 1:Machine Affinity.
You are trained in all tasks involving electrical machines. Enabler.
Distant Activation (1 Intellect point).
You can activate or deactivate any machine you can see within short range, even if normally you would have to touch or manually operate the device. To use this ability, you must understand the function of the machine, it must be your size or smaller, and it can’t be connected to another intelligence (or be intelligent itself). Action.
Wears a Sheen of Ice
Through your studies, you have learned to focus your natural talents to command the powers of ice and cold. People might refer to you as an ice mage. Sometimes ice mages are thought to come into conflict with those known as fire mages, but this is a fallacy believed by ordinary folks more than anything based in truth. You likely wear white or blue garments that are heavier than they need to be—unless you live in a cold region or wintry clime, in which case you probably wear less clothing than other people do because the cold doesn’t bother you.
Most ice mages are nanos, but a glaive armored in ice, perhaps wielding an ice sword, would be quite impressive.
Connection: Pick one other PC. Due to a quirk of the numenera, if that character is standing next to you when you use your Ice Armor ability, he is also protected by a sheen of ice. (He does not get the added protection of your Resilient Ice Armor ability.)
Additional Equipment: You have a bladed weapon made of stronglass that looks like ice.
Ice Esoteries: If you perform esoteries, those that would normally use force or other energy instead use cold and ice. For example, an Onslaught force blast is a ray of frost, and Flash produces a blast of cold and ice shards. This alteration changes nothing other than the type of damage. As another example, Barrier creates a wall of ice. This alteration changes nothing except the wall’s appearance and the fact that it takes 2 additional points of damage from fire.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The surface around the target becomes slick and difficult to stand on.
Major Effect Suggestions: The target is covered in ice that hinders its movement for one minute, during which time the difficulty of all tasks it performs is modified by one step to its detriment.
Tier 1:Ice Armor (1 Intellect point).
When you wish it, your body is covered in a sheen of ice for ten minutes that gives you +1 to Armor. While the sheen is active, you feel no discomfort from normal cold temperatures and have an additional +2 to Armor versus cold damage specifically. Enabler.
Wields Power With Precision
Not only are you blessed with a great command of the numenera, but you are also trained to exploit esoteries in ways that elevate you above other nanos and jacks. Some people believe that those who perform esoteries are born with the ability, but you know that skill and intelligence play important roles. The ancients created the numenera through knowledge, discovery, and intellect, and to use it properly, you must follow the same path.
You probably wear spectacles and dapper outfits, carrying extra books, notebooks, and pens so you can continually focus on your studies and experiments.
Nanos usually receive this instruction and focus, but some jacks do as well. Glaives never do.
Connection: Pick one other PC. You’ve placed an immutable, one-time ward that renders her immune to the esoteries you perform unless she wants to be affected.
Additional Equipment: You have an additional book on the subject of the numenera.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The esotery overwhelms and dazzles the target for one round, during which time the difficulty of all tasks it performs is modified by one step to its detriment.
Major Effect Suggestions: The esotery terrifies the target, who uses its next two turns to flee.
Your Intellect Pool increases by 5 points. Enabler.
Wields Two Weapons at Once
You bear steel with both hands, ready to take on any foe. You fight with two weapons in melee, sometimes called dual wielding. A fearsome warrior, quick and strong, you believe that the best defense is a strong offense. You probably sheathe one weapon on each side or both crossed behind your back. They are likely your most prized possessions, and you might have names for them.
Many glaives and jacks train to fight with two weapons at once. Very rarely would a nano spend the time required to learn such a purely physical art, but it’s possible.
Connection: Pick one other PC. You have trained with this character so much that if the two of you stand back to back in a fight, you both gain a +1 bonus to Speed defense tasks.
Additional Equipment: You start with an additional light melee weapon.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The target is intimidated and flees as its next action.
Major Effect Suggestions: You can make an immediate additional attack with one of your weapons.
Tier 1:Dual Light Wield.
You can use two light weapons at the same time, making two separate attacks on your turn as a single action. You remain limited by the amount of Effort you can apply on one action, but because you make separate attacks, your opponent’s Armor applies to both. Anything that modifies your attack or damage applies to both attacks, unless it’s specifically tied to one of the weapons. Enabler.
You manipulate matter and time to help others and are beloved by everyone you encounter. Some people consider you a representative of the gods or a power from beyond this world. Perhaps they’re right—transdimensional experiments in the prior worlds might be what created the energies that you now wield. You probably wear simple clothes—nothing too flashy or stylish. There’s no need to call more attention to yourself.
Nanos are the likeliest miracle workers, using their mental fortitude to focus the power of healing. A glaive who can heal himself, though, is an interesting and dangerous proposition.
Connection: Pick one other PC. This character quietly suspects that you’re a messiah or supernatural being. You can choose whether or not you’re aware of his suspicion.
Minor Effect Suggestions: The target is healed for 1 additional point.
Major Effect Suggestions: The target is healed for 2 additional points.
Tier 1:Healing Touch (1 Intellect point).
With a touch, you restore 1d6 points to one stat Pool of any creature. This ability is a difficulty 2 Intellect task. Each time you attempt to heal the same creature, the task difficulty increases by one step. The difficulty returns to 2 after that creature rests for ten hours. Action.
Works the Back Alleys
The thief, the burglar, the pickpocket: these are the dangerous individuals who haunt the back alleys of every community. You are a thief in a city or town, making your livelihood at the expense of the wealthy. Your talents, however, prepare you for all kinds of pursuits, even when you’re not crouching in an alley or climbing into a window. Usually, you dress to blend in with the crowd. When you’re on a mission, black, form-fitting clothing allows you to swim in the shadows.
Most thieves are jacks, but nanos make interesting burglars as well. A glaive thief likely adds a little more physicality to his crimes.
Connection: Pick one other PC. The character knew you beforehand and convinced you to leave your life of crime for other pursuits—at least temporarily.
Additional Equipment: You start with a bag of light tools.
Minor Effect Suggestions: You can immediately attempt to hide after this action.
Major Effect Suggestions: You can immediately take a second action during this turn.
You are trained in sneaking, pickpocketing, and lockpicking tasks. Enabler.