If the science-fantasy world of RPG Numenera wasn’t weird enough for you (with its Aeon Priests and forgotten technologies and invisible ziggurats), its creators are planning to take it into space, beneath the oceans, and into other dimensions with Into the Ninth World.
When Monte Cook Games released Numenera in 2013, it was already a record-breaking Kickstarter among tabletop RPGs. Powered by a fast character creation system and a relatively streamlined set of rules called the Cipher System, Numenera launched players billions of years into the future, to a world where eight civilizations had come and gone. The world was strewn with the remnants of their technologies—their weapons of war, musical instruments, works of art, things they’d collected from alien visitors. Some of it still worked, but no one understood how or why. I was pretty in love with the concept when I reviewed the core book.
I’ve always felt that if you’re going to do Weird, go big or go home. Don’t waste my time with Kinda Weird. Give me Big Weird. Full Weird. Super Weird. Into the Ninth World seems to be aimed directly at satisfying that particular craving. The Kickstarter funded in a day and is blasting through stretch goals (maps, music, add-ons, a novel by Shanna Germain, a slipcase, more weird stuff).
What, specifically, are they creating? Three separate books. The first, Into the Night, “takes Numenera players and GMs beyond the grip of Earth’s gravity, to locations pioneered by the previous worlds on the moon, elsewhere in the solar system, and in remote reaches of the galaxy.” This is obviously going to take a Numenera campaign in a more science-fiction direction, but you’re still dealing with technology you don’t entirely understand. Hopping on a giant space vessel you can only kind of control sounds like a pretty excellent launching point for a grand adventure. And if you’re clever, you could probably hack this into the Destiny tabletop RPG you never knew you wanted until just now. Just load up Peter Dinklage’s best lines to play for your players when appropriate.
Into the Deep will cover the Ninth World’s vast oceans, including a playable aquatic race. Undersea campaigns are one of the biggest challenges in tabletop RPGs, so it should be pretty interesting to see how the Cipher System handles it.
Finally, Into the Outside will visit pocket dimensions where you can hang out with extra-dimensional beings and just get really Weird.
They’re also creating an artifact deck full of ancient tech for players to find and puzzle over.
This looks like one of those sprawling, epic world-building projects that most of us will probably barely skim the surface of in our campaigns, and yet it is such fun to read about all the far-flung realms your adventures could take you. And Numenera’s art is, without fail, stupendous. Monte Cook Games will let you check out a free 12-page sample of Into the Night, in case you have any doubts.