In Numenera the tremendously advanced technologies developed by long-dead civilizations linger on in a low-tech world where people struggle to survive. Adventurers attempt to gather and harness this dangerous, powerful magic in order to build a better future.

Characters in Numenera come from one of three broad classes and advance by gaining experience points, but those traditional d20 mechanics are married to newer elements that offer a great deal of narrative control to players. It is a medium-crunch system delivered with plenty of advice for gamemasters. While it can be used for one-offs, Numenera is best suited to campaign play.

Here’s how the publisher describes Numenera:

Set in a far, far distant future, the Numenera RPG puts a new spin on traditional fantasy, creating something unique to reinvigorate the imagination of gamers everywhere. Player characters explore a world of mystery and danger to find leftover artifacts of the past: bits of nanotechnology, the datasphere threaded among still-orbiting satellites, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange and wondrous devices that defy understanding.

Three Things About Numenera

  • A Unique Post-Apocalyptic Setting: Set in earth’s far distant future, technology advanced enough to be indistinguishable from magic coexists with agrarian economies, alien species, and unrecognizable creatures.
  • Character Differentiation: A character type is joined with a descriptor and focus to rapidly generate a unique character.
  • Streamlined NPCs and Monsters: A non-player character or monster’s level determines attack and defense targets, so gamemasters have less work to do up front when creating encounters.


  • “We’re all trying to get back to AD&D here, back when you decided what your characters wanted to do, and then figured out how that got modeled in the rules. From my brief experience so far, I think Numenera succeeds.”Russell J. Brown, Fiction Speculation
  • “I think one of the coolest things about the game for me so far — running it that is — is the people that I totally wouldn’t expect to be interested, because of the games they normally play, people who flat out said on more than one occasion that they had no interest in the game, people that were not sure about the game, now being interested and — in some cases — even excited about the game.”Cameron Corniuk, Writer’s Blocks

A second edition of Numenera is due for release in Q3, 2018. Titled Numenera: Discovery and Destiny, the new edition will be completely backwards-compatible. According to the publisher, “In fact, the game can be played with both the existing corebook and Numenera Discovery in use at the same game table!”

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