Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rynath and the OSR: Part 2

Today I'm sharing the next seven Rynath OSR classes:  Assassin, Barbarian, Knight, Paladin, Ranger, Seer, and Witch.  As I post these, my mind starts thinking--wouldn't some of these options make more sense as Prestige Classes?  After all, wasn't the Companion Set Druid a prestige class? (for lack of a better term).  I tend to view an Assassin as an experienced killer, not a 1st level character.  And the same for the Ranger and the Paladin.  They're more like special forces.  Anyway, putting aside those thoughts and any future revisions (almost guaranteed) here are these seven classes playable from 1st level.

This Assassin's poison mechanics are triggered by critical hits.  The Assassin is the only other class next to the Fighter that can crit on a 19-20 at 1st level, something I find necessary for this poison set-up.  It assumes that the Assassin will always have some amount of poison on them thus doing away with book-keeping.  Sacrilege I know, old-school "D&D" is largely about resource management.  But, this is another method to give combat those exciting holy**** moments (like my Thief's "Combat Theft," Here if you missed my first post on Rynath OSR.)  If someone miserably fails their save, a low-level Assassin can take out a high level opponent instantly.  They are ASSASSINS after all.  The downside is that they may go for awhile without rolling a crit.  Anyhow, this is the idea I chose to post, there are other more traditional ideas I have...

My version of the Paladin is a fanatic holy warrior bred to smite evil!  They're almost like living Saints, and they're not your drinking buddy (though Strongheart seemed like a decent fellow.)  There's probably a little more that I could do with this class, but like the Ranger, I don't want them to be spell-casters.  One of the problems modern "D&D" has is that too many classes are spell-casters.

This Ranger is the classic lone-wolf forester.  He's a survivalist, a hawker, and an ARCHER who knows it's always better to kill from a distance if you can.

The Knight is a class just because I want it to be; a leader, tank, and a defender.

Seers and Witches, I could easily roll into the Wizard class by cutting back the Wizard's spells and offering a couple of side abilities.  But, I know I'm not alone when I say that I want to play a Witch, not play a Wizard and call myself a Witch.  If the Seers "Vision" mechanic seems familiar, it's very similar to 5th Edition's Portent ability for the Diviner.  I'm usually not a fan of  "x times/day" mechanics, but it seems fitting for "Vision" and "Hex."

Not gonna lie, the Barbarian is one of my least favorite "D&D" concepts, and probably should be renamed Berserkers, (Conan is a Fighter, Cuchulain is a Berserker.)  I've never really been satisfied by "rage" mechanics, but I like what I've come up with here and I love my take on their distrust of magic.  All-in-all, I've created a Barbarian that I would actually love to play.

To complete the series, I'll eventually post the Samurai, Ninja, Pixie, Druid, Bard/Jester, Monk, and Dark-Elf (most of these pictures aren't drawn yet.)  Seeing as Rynath is a series of ideas and not a complete rule-set, I realize these classes are of limited use to people and may only serve as inspiration -- which is fine.   I may end up posting more traditional versions of these classes, but really, what's the point? This is an exchange of ideas.

I'm currently working on Rynath 2d6 which I would like to post as a complete rule-set.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black are the four colors that were used to color comic books -- back in the day.  If you've ever heard the phrase "Four Color Comics" or "Four Color Super-Heroes" now you know why.  So, here I present FOUR character sheets for super-hero RPGs.

Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition is the newest of this bunch.  It's not a bad game, a little too "point-buy" for my taste.  It's kind of like Marvel (FASERIP) mated with Champions.  Champions was an alright game to play, and I knew people that would spend, days..... actually, make that weeks fine tuning their characters, trying to get the most bang for their hero-point bucks.  This might just be where power-gaming started.

The same situation exists with Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition, but admittedly, it's nowhere near as bad.  Many gamers love point-buy systems.  Ain't my cup of tea.  My imagination works best when I have to make sense of unrelated fragments.  Now, M&M 3rd does have a meticulously crafted random character generation system that is 100% balanced for their point-buy system.  It's impressive, and whoever designed it deserves credit. I just wish they had it for every level of power in the game.  Not everyone should be "power level 10." I just don't like that amount of balance.  It doesn't exist and never has existed in comics.  Anyway, point-buy is not a flaw, it's a preference one way or the other.

A real nit-pick I have of this system is that it's "condition" heavy.  There are no hit-points, just negative modifiers and conditions, and then more conditions, and then some of those conditions have conditions.  All of these conditions are basically a variation of "stunned."

All in all, it's not a bad game.

When DC Heroes came out I was heavily into Marvel (FASERIP).  As much as DC fascinated me, I never made the switch.  The system is awesome, elegant even, but I hated the fact that you had to build your character.  Might as well play Champions.

No game has ever handled different power-levels as good as DC Heroes.  From Superman to Batman and everyone in between, the rules handle the difference realistically and gracefully.  

Two flaws that stand out to me.  One: In the exponential system that is DC, every number is twice as good as the one before it (4 is twice as good as 3 which is twice as good as 2 which is twice as good as 1.)  However, on the action chart (this could be another flaw--the game was chart heavy, an action and results chart, if you don't mind looking at charts though, they work great) 1-2 is a column, 3-4 is column, 5-6 is a column, etc.  Numbers 5 and 6 have the same value on the action chart, yet 6 is supposed to be twice as good as 5.  Two:  Hero-Points, you're expected to spend them to survive.  You're not really in any danger until you're out of hero-points.  Batman would be knocked out with one punch in this game many times over if he didn't have hero-points to spend to change that fate.  A character should be able to survive and do what they do based on their stats, not the expenditure of hero-points.

Still, a beautiful system.  

Marvel Super Heroes (now referred to as FASERIP) was my go-to game other than D&D.  I played this game so much that it ruined percentile-dice systems for me for years.  I knew the stats to every Marvel character thanks to all the source books they produced and I still, to this day, mentally rank super-heroes according to the FASERIP system.

I loved the quick and random character generation in this game and it forced you to get creative because, damn, you would roll some weird combos.  Not like we never re-rolled though ("Feeble" Plant Control, I don't think so.)  

Like DC, Marvel was dependent on a chart (charts really were a thing in the 80's), but some people over the years have come up with creative ways not to use the chart (actually called, the Universal Table).  The main flaw of this game is that the powers sometimes aren't well explained.  Also, characters weren't always as strong or weak as their comic book counterparts.  But that's role-playing.  RPGs aren't movies, aren't novels, aren't comics.  RPGs are their own beast.  I think the biggest flaw in FASERIP was OUR inability to use the system to its maximum affect.  

If I was allowed to redesign this game........

A note about the sheet....I added Infamy to oppose Popularity.  You can use Infamy to represent villain popularity or simply to represent negative popularity.  Or you can ignore it.

Heroes Unlimited.  I know, the character sheet below says Rifts.  That's because this Rifts character sheet is usable for any Palladium Books game from Rifts to Nightbane and Heroes Unlimited to Beyond the Supernatural and Splicers to Palladium Fantasy, you get the point.

Where do I start?  This game is a random character generation paradise, but sometimes it will give you too many powers.  See, powers in this game are so well thought out, that often 1 power is like having 3 or 5 or 10!  And you might roll 4 or 5 powers.....get ready to transcribe! Often, one or two powers is plenty.

No super-hero game does gritty hand-to-hand combat better than Heroes Unlimited. Strike, Parry, Dodge, Roll With Punch, Leap Kick, Body-Block Throw, etc., it's all there.  Throw in powers and magic and you've got the most dynamic comic book action you've ever seen.

You won't be playing Superman or Thor in this game.  The power level is more attuned for street to mid-level play--which is perfect.  As of right now, Heroes Unlimited would be my go-to super-hero game.

Now, Palladium's games aren't without their flaws.  Most critics will cry about contradictory rules being scattered across books and how the system is unbalanced.  I just don't view those things as problems.  When you like a toolbox, you like it.  For me the biggest flaw in Palladium Games is M.D.C. (Mega Damage Capacity).  I simply change everything to S.D.C./Hit Points. Game on.

Physically, Palladium books are probably my favorite format for an RPG.  I love the way a perfectly-bound paperback feels.  I love the gritty black and white interior art and Palladium has some of the BEST COVER ART in gaming.

And to think, I ignored Palladium Books for years.  I currently own over thirty of them and periodically feel compelled to buy more. 

Character Sheet note:  Speed doesn't do much in this game, so I added the OPTION for Speed to give an Initiative Bonus.  Just use the same bonuses that are given for P.P.

Will have to do some posts focused only on Palladium....

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Rynath and the OSR

OSR:  Old School Renaissance (Revival). This is where I am now.  After collecting (and still collecting) many games and exploring many different systems, I'm back at the beginning...sort of.  Too many rules are starting to get in the way.   Nothing against new games, many are fine and many still have my interest -- see the adventure I recently posted for Numenera:  X'actori

But, there is something about the RED BOX.  The B in BECMI.  For me, the ALPHA PRODUCT.  The one that still stands the test of time.  One that is forever burned into my brain as the ultimate representation of D&D.  Of course that was MY introduction and first impressions matter; every generation has their version of it...I think.  But, I'm not just talking about rules here, I'm also talking about presentation and art.  Larry Elmore's BECMI art was MEDIEVAL, you know, the Middle Ages, knights, feudalism, castles.  D&D art has never been as good as that (though Dragonlance, Planescape and Darksun all had great art.)  OK, settle down grognard, to each their own...

I'm back at the beginning...sort of.  Meaning as much as I love the old ways, they can, and have been improved upon.  Many people have already done it and done it well.   Many people have their own particular OSR twist.  What I'm calling Rynath is my constantly evolving collection of OSR rules, ideas, and character class redesigns.

Rynath is simply the name of my homebrew fantasy world...nothing radical there.  Rynath is capitol M MEDIEVAL, no gunpowder, no flying ships, no multi-fantasy-race metropolises, etc.  Sometimes I've used the name Dungeoneer for my fantasy (projects), but for now I'm going with RynathRynath - OSR, Rynath - 2d6, Rynath - Traveller,-- three separate, yet related projects I need to blog about.  See end of this post for examples...

Rynath OSR System HighLights

Below is the Rynath Character Sheet.  Right away you'll notice there are only four ability scores.  I've rolled constitution into strength, intelligence into wisdom, and added resolve.  I thought about keeping charisma, but it's kinda pointless unless you're using retainers which is now driven by resolve.

Strength:  Melee Strike Bonus, Damage Bonus, and Hit Point Bonus. Physical saves.

Wisdom:  Number of starting Languages Known, starting Skill Points (no matter the class), and Bonus 1st Level Spells.  Intellect saves (illusions and such.)

Dexterity:  Missile Strike Bonus, Armor Class Bonus, and Initiative Bonus.  Agility saves.

Resolve:  Reaction/ Retainer Bonus.  Willpower saves. 

Skills are the old-school d6 roll and presented similar to how LotFP  (Lamentations of the Flame Princess) does it with some changes.  Every Class gets some skill points eventually.  Every skill starts at 1 for every character and for some skills, ability bonuses are added.  Using a skill takes a variable amount of time and failure can have consequences such as mandatory wandering monster checks. If you succeed at your skill roll then you've done what you wanted to do....period (tired of the Perception check super-skill that stands in the way of everything.)

Some classes have different Critical Hit thresholds as they level up, eg. Fighters start with a critical hit on 19-20, by 13th level it's 16-20.  Why?  Helps make combat more interesting and dynamic.  Prevents combat slog and helps Fighters stand out.  Fighters also get 1 free parry every round, where-as every other class has to sacrifice their attack to parry.  (See Parry rules below.)

Strike Bonus ("To-Hit" bonus, I like the word "Strike") caps out at level 10.

Hit Dice cap out at level 9, just like B/X, but characters starts with a few more Hit Points at level one.  The game is still deadly enough.

I incorporate the ever-popular Advantage/Disadvantage.  

If you use a Weapon your are not trained in, you attack with Disadvantage.  If you wear Armor you are not trained in you do EVERYTHING with Disadvantage and if you're a spell-caster, targets have Advantage on their saves.

XP (experience) is gained by killing monsters and finding treasure.  Nothing new there, except I would give a little more for XP for monsters and hand out less treasure.  Character advancement should be slow.

I've thought about doing an Encumbrance System that limits everyone to 10 slots with armor taking up 1-3 and each weapon taking up 1-2.  This would realistically limit what is carried through the Dungeon ( and lets face it, it's all about the Dungeon.)  Being over this limit would penalize you with Disadvantage on rolls.

The chart below lists the Armor Classes and armor costs.  Weapons are fairly standard for B/X, BECMI.  Though I feel that a staff should only do 1d4.  Weapons are double the classic prices.  I've thought about giving weapons "qualities", but I haven't....for this system.  I don't want to stray too far...


SAVING THROWS  are based on ability scores and level (not class and level).  I have three charts to choose from.  Why three?  Because I haven't decided which one is standard.  Probably the first one.  So a 5th level character with a DEX of 13 would have a DEX save of 11 or higher.  The other two charts break the game into 5 tiers of three levels (Rynath classes max out at 15th level) one is a more difficult progression.  These are just other options.  

Monsters would base their save on Hit Die and the 9-12 ability score slot.  Treat all Hit Dice lower than 1 as 1.  Of Course I would like to rewrite the monsters in more detail, but this is a quick fix.


MAGIC is my other main innovation next to saving throws and ascending crits.  I've never liked Vancian magic, even when I was younger.  Having read Jack Vance since then, I certainly have more appreciation for that magic system, but, I still don't prefer it.  Spell points are closer to what I like, but not quite.  I view magic as something dangerous that should physically drain, exhaust, and potentially kill you if you abuse it.  An experienced Wizard should be warped, mutated, or simply aged beyond their years.  You play with powerful forces (Black Magic) and you pay a powerful price.

So the magic (and prayer) system is basically this:

  • The spells you know are determined randomly (Clerics inlcluded -- you don't know the role your deity has for you.) 
  • You can cast any spell you know.
  • As you level up, higher level spell charts become available to you.  When you roll for a new spell, you can roll on any chart up to your maximum spell-level allowed.
  • When you cast a spell you make a resolve save with a penalty equal to the spell level (eg. a 1st level spell worsens your resolve save by 1, as second level spell worsens it by 2, etc.)
  • If you fail the save you take x-amount of Hit Point damage per spell level (this depends on Class, Wizards have it the easiest and this curbs the power-level of Elves.)  If you succeed there is no Hit Point loss.  Critical successes and failures worsen or better this verdict -- explained on each Class description.
  • All harmful spells allow for a saving throw even sleep and magic missile and such.
Those are the basics of spell-casting.  And it's still something of an experiment.  But this system allows for that unexpected Wizard's sacrifice for the party.  It gives "magic-users" more flexibility, yet the risk of losing hit points causes them to choose wisely when to cast spells. More often than not, you will lose hit points when casting a spell.

Clerics basically work the same way.

You can use just about any OSR spell list that you want, but Cleric spells don't go higher than 7th-level and Turn Undead has to be a first level spell under this system. See LotFP for that version or simply treat the use of any Turn Undead ruleset as a 1st-level spell.

Magic Items have a Usage-Die (except things like weapons and armor and other special or one-use items) so every time you use a magic item is one use closer to it's last.  Usage-Die rules for those who don't know:  You roll a die when you use an item.  Lets say a d8. If you roll a 1 or 2 on the die, the d8 becomes a d6.  If you roll a 1 or 2 on your next use, the d6 becomes a d4.  If you roll a 1 or 2 on a d4, the item becomes useless; crumbles to dust or something. Usage Die starting Die is typically d12 but sometimes d20.  I've never really liked the traditional "charges" system.

Sample Magic Item

Ring of Invisibility:  This ring grants you invisibility, but every round you wear it, you take 1 point of damage that can not be magically healed and only heals naturally at a rate of 1 point per week.  Also, you must pass a Resolve Save in order to remove the ring from your finger — failure means that you succumb to the ring and can’t try to remove it again for another 1d4 rounds.  If you die from wearing the ring, you turn into a Wraith.  If you die from other means while wearing the ring, the ring slips from your finger and you become visible.

Ammo could also use the Usage Die system.  Optional.


Parry:  During a combat round, if you have not acted yet, you can use your action to Parry a successful Strike made against you by making Strike roll that is equal to or greater than the incoming Strike roll.  Success means you have knocked the attack aside and suffer no damage.  If you choose to Parry, then you can not Strike that Round (unless you’re a Fighter.)  You can not Parry without a weapon or a Shield (unless you’re a Monk.)  Armed with a Shield, you may use your action to Parry an attack made against an adjacent ally — you make this roll with  Disadvantage (unless you’re a Knight).  A Shield can also be used to parry missiles (using your regular Strike Bonus.)  You can never Parry more than once per round.

--If you successfully Parry a Critical Hit, there may still be consequences.  You must make a Strength Save — failure means that you roll on the Critical Miss Table

--If you score a Critical Hit with your Parry, then you can Strike that Round.   Fighters force their opponent to roll on the Critical Miss Table.

--If you score a Critical Miss with your Parry, then the incoming Strike becomes a Critical Hit and you roll on the Critical Miss Table.

Critical Hit:  If the actual die roll falls in your Crit Range, you’ve scored a Critical Hit and your damage is doubled as follows: 1d8+3 becomes (11 + 1d8+3).  Tripled would be (22 + 1d8+3). 
 Also, any time you take damage from a Critical Hit, your Armor is damaged and loses 1 point of Armor Class.  You can choose to take this damage to your Shield instead.  A Forge* roll can be attempted later to repair the damage.
        *Forge Skill:  One roll equals 1 full day of work.  If the roll succeeds, 1 point of armor is restored, or a weapon improves by 1 Die Type back up to it's maximum.  If the roll fails, try again tomorrow.

Critical Miss:  A natural 1 is always Critical Miss.  Roll 1d6 to see what just happened to you.

1.  You Drop Your Weapon and it is out of your reach.  On your next turn you can draw a new weapon and Strike with  Disadvantage, or you can attempt to recover your lost weapon (if no one else has) by making a successful Dexterity Save — attempting to pick up an item during combat takes up your entire action and requires a Dexterity Save.

2.  You’ve been Knocked Down — all Strikes against you are made with Advantage while you are prone.  You Strike with Disadvantage until you regain your footing which only happens after a Dexterity Save — which takes up your entire action.

3.  Your Weapon is Damaged — it becomes the next lowest Die Type (1d4 weapons are destroyed).

4.  You’ve left yourself wide open and your opponent gets a Free Strike against you.

5.  You Drop an Item of Value (determined randomly from your most valuable possessions).

6.  Your Weapon Shatters even if it's magical (nothing lasts forever, and this creates legendary moments.)

Healing:  After an 8 hour rest, you recover Hit Die your Level.

Mounted Combat:  If you take damage while mounted, you need to make a Strength Save or fall from your steed taking 1d4 damage.

--Missile Strikes while mounted are made with Disadvantage.
--Combatants on foot have Disadvantage while Striking mounted opponents.


The Classes I designed for Rynath are on the following list.  Why include classes like Dark-Elf, Monk, Ninja, Pixie, Samurai?  Just because.  Classes are fun to design, so having only 7 wasn't gonna cut it.  Also, Knight, Witch, Assassin, and Seer had to be Classes.  Again, just because I love the concepts.

Bard / Jester
Elf / Warlock
Wizard / Sorcerer

Here are the seven core (B/X, BECMI) classes.  This should give an idea of how it all comes together.  I will post more over time...

Rynath - Traveller -- 1st Attempt

Rynath - Traveller -- Revised

Rynath - 2d6 -- In Progress

For Rynath Traveller, I have a total of 13 career charts each with 3 sub-careers.  My first attempt is a straight up Traveller - Fantasy conversion.  My revived attempt streamlines character creation, but is basically the same system.  Rynath 2d6 takes my 21 OSR classes and converts them to a Traveller-ish 2d6 system with very quick/random character creation. 

More on all of this later....

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Anima: Beyond Fantasy Character Sheets

These character sheets are insane!  Did these several years ago and I can't believe I even had the nerve.  In order to do them I had to read the Anima: Beyond Fantasy Core Rule Book cover-to-cover and learn the system inside out.  Anyone who's done that knows what I'm talking about.  Holy......

It's a cool game though.  But the effort it would take to play it is enormous.  Anima is one of those games that people want to play but nobody wants to run.  You literally need to use a calculator.

The official character sheets for the game cover everything well, but there is waaay too much black. Designing these sheets tested my organizational skills to the max and they're the first sheets that I ever imported images on to.  I was thrilled that I was able to pull off the magic diagrams on the magic sheets.  I learned a ton working on these, but they look old compared to what I produce now.

Anyhow, for those of you out there that are fans of this gorgeous looking, yet complex game, I hope you find these useful, or at least interesting.

Main Page

Optional Back 1

Optional Back 2

Optional Back 3

Magic Sheet A

Magic Sheet B


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Numenera Adventure: X'actori


X'actori is an ever-changing, hovering scrapyard that perpetually scours the Ninth World for cypher technology that it can integrate into itself.  This impossible looking structure rises over a mile into the sky and can move at unlikely high speeds. It generally progresses at only a few miles-per-hour, sucking up anything that is likely to contain cyphers or artifacts.

Physically, X'actori is is an ever-evolving entity built completely of a cypher/synth/metal alloy.  Massive antennae designed for cypher-detection jut out at every angle and enormous automated cranes dot the towering, machine-landscape.

Any part of the Ninth World that is visited by X'actori is left scarred; tech-heavy areas are left utterly devastated.  X'actori has been known to park above a city for weeks or months slowly tearing it apart. When this happens X'actori will grow in size significantly.   However, this is a rare event because many cities can mount a decent defense. Usually, the floating scrapyard will be found scouring barren terrain.  But in the Ninth World, no terrain is truly barren.

It is rumored that X'actori is not the only one of it's kind...

Hooks For Exploring X'actori 

  • As the PCs travel, they see X'actori from miles away.  As they get closer they see pieces of useless scrap littered about...along with some unconscious people.  When questioned, the people eventually realize that any cyphers or artifacts they possessed are gone.  They have vague memories of machine-like beings.
  • A friend or alley (or stranger) has gone missing.  It doesn't take long to notice the colossal structure hovering in the distance. 
  • X'actori is approaching the PC's home town or a town they happen to be in.  It will arrive in 1d6 days. 
  • The PCs come across X'actori hovering over a city, slowly tearing it apart (Rare.)
  • The PCs are already well aware of X'actori's existence and simply want to raid it for cyphers. 

Entering X'actori

The most direct route inside X'actori is to let oneself get sucked up through the mile long center-tube beneath the structure. This tube is almost 100 feet (30 meters) wide. Only people or things carrying cyphers/artifacts will be brought up.  If the PCs haven't figured this out, a difficulty 3 Intellect (Numenera) test will give them the knowledge.  While travelling through the tube the PCs are fairly immobile.  Trying to take any action or use any device requires a difficulty 6 Might test.  Tube traffic varies according to the cypher-richness of an area.  There will be people and objects floating up to and down from X'actori.  Some of the people will not be conscious.

It takes roughly 20 minutes to be transported up to the surface of the scrapyard; 10 minutes if the PC possesses an artifact.  Once at the top, the PCs will land on one of many enormous conveyor belts containing bits of scrap and potentially other people. The belt ultimately leads to an X'aminer.  The conveyor belts are patrolled by guards and scouts but sneaking off is certainly possible.

Once the PCs reach an X'aminer, it will demand that they hand over all cyphers and artifacts -- it knows exactly how many they have.  If they refuse to hand over any items, the X'aminer will proceed to take them by force (see X'aminer below.)  Once the PCs are removed of their cyphers (whether they are conscious or unconscious) they will be placed on another belt, sent back to the tube and returned to the ground below.  Anything placed in the tube not possessing cyphers will float harmlessly down.  It is impossible to float down the tube while possessing cyphers or artifacts, so PCs will have to get creative in escaping.  Occasionally, a person will not be returned to the Ninth World below, as they are taken into the inner workings of X'actori to be lobotomized and turned into a mindless cyborg.  This is not common and the reasons for it are unknown.

It's also possible to try to enter X'actori from the outside by flying to the top. This is the hard way.  Any attempt to land on one of the smaller structures jutting out from the center-tube will be met with resistance from 1d6+6 guards with 1d6 more guards arriving every 5 rounds so long as combat continues.  Trying to land anywhere on top of X'actori will be met by 2d6+6 guards with 1d6 more guards arriving every 5 rounds so long as combat continues.

A Fraction of X'actori

Exploring  X'actori

Once the PCs are on a conveyor belt in X'actori they should witness a couple of things.  First, some strange soul up ahead of them should refuse to hand over their cyphers and after a very brief struggle with an X'aminer, the stranger is rendered unconscious via giant syringe and sent on their way.  The PCs won't know if this person is alive or dead.  Second, another person further on down the belt panics and attempts to escape.  This causes a huge commotion, drawing scouts and guards to the scene.  The panicked person is eventually blasted by the guards and couriers put the body back on the conveyor belt.  During this event all perception rolls by the X'actarians are 2 steps more difficult (or you could say that PC stealth attempts are 2 steps easier) giving the PCs a solid chance of sneaking off to explore X'actori for cyphers and/or to find a missing person.

X'actori is multi-leveled and close to a mile in diameter.  It's like an amalgamation of dozens upon dozens of factories and scrapyards.  Machinery abounds, construction is perpetual, the landscape is ever-changing, and scrap is everywhere.  Anyone trained in the Numenera should automatically know that this is the richest deposit of cyphers and artifacts that they have ever seen.

Once the PCs are off and exploring, roll on the following table to see which type of area they encounter.  All areas are searchable for cyphers unless stated otherwise.

Location Area Descriptions

1.  A large crevasse between to giant mechanical structures.  Several massive turbines lean against the walls.  The scrap is so thick here that movement actions on the ground are 2 steps more difficult.  Mandatory encounter with a X'actorian Quantum Peddler.

2.  An industrial stairwell that becomes impassible three levels down due to the amount of scrap.  Hiding at the bottom are 1d6+2 cyborgs in various states of mental stability.  One or two of them is sentient enough to ask the PCs to help them escape.

3.  The massive shell of what was once a flying structure.  A windrider artifact (Numenera, pg. 313) is found on a cypher search result of 18-20.

4.  A tangled web of cables and chains as far as the eye can see.  All physical actions here are 2 steps harder and stealth is impossible.  Roll a random encounter when the PCs are searching and wish them luck.

5.  An area full of conveyor belts returning useless scrap to the center-tube to be dumped, but the PCs won't realize it right away.  Searching here is 3 steps harder.

6.  A large platform where automated cranes are sorting scrap.

7.  A colossal crane that has toppled on it's side and partially hangs over the edge of X'actori.  Even if this is the first location rolled, the PCs have somehow found the edge.

8.  A collection of steam towers and smoke stacks with stairs wrapping around them and catwalks between them.  Scouts will absolutely notice the PCs if they spend more than 1 hour here.

9.  Here a very long conveyor belt runs down into the belly of X'actori.  Near the end of  the belt is an unconscious child who will disappear from view in 5 rounds.  3 guards patrol along the belt.  The belt has Health: 9 and Armor: 2.  Hits on the belt are automatic, but rolling is still as option.  The PCs start out Long distance from the child.  Riding the belt down into X'actori is a tight squeeze that leads to a mechanical laboratory occupied by 4 X'aminers.

10.  A foundry where some cyphers are being melted down and mixed with synth.  Currently active, searching is 1 step harder.

11.  Machine graveyard full of X'actorian machines waiting to be recycled.  Search results of 17-20 reveal the wreckage of an X'aminer that contains an artifact.

12.  A network of huge pipes that can be walked though.  Some are clogged with scrap and need to be crawled through.

13.  Towering, unstable piles of engines.  A Speed:4 test must be made while searching to avoid falling and taking 4 damage.

14.  A general scrap area with very large cypher-magnets hanging 100 feet (30 meters) overhead.  Any cyphers found here get pulled up to a magnet if the PCs fail a Might: 6 test to hold on, for each cypher they've found.

15.  A cluttered, sub-surface area that hums strangely.  There is a quantum disturbance here causing any cyphers that the PCs possess to immediately change into a different cypher.  PCs must re-roll their cyphers.  You can do this one of two ways:  1.  The PCs' cyphers begin to vibrate wildly which informs the PCs that something is up.  2.  Don't tell them their cyphers have changed until they attempt to use one.   There are zero new cyphers to be found here.  This disturbance does not affect artifacts.  Great place to insert a quantum peddler.

16.  This entire area is a gargantuan conveyor belt full of scrap heading toward a compacter. Searching is 2 steps harder due to the constant concern of being flattened.

17.  A massive net full of scrap that is stretched out over the side of X'actori.  Actions are 2 steps harder due to terrible footing.  1d6 guards appear every extra hour spent here.

18.  Sky-lifts are here that will transport the PCs to any area they have already been to.  There are no cyphers here.  Gm Intrusion:  A scout will follow.

19.  Gears of all sizes churn through a sea of scrap.  It's loud but unguarded, so searching is 1 step easier here.

20.  Have something of your own prepared for this slot, or improvise, or roll again.

Every hour spent searching an area gives each PC a roll to find cyphers.  Assuming the PCs are trying to be quiet, the search roll is a difficulty 5 Intellect roll (4 for those trained in Numenera). If they aren't concerned with stealth, the rolls are 4 and 3 respectively and a random encounter is rolled  (the encounter takes place after their search rolls).  If the PC succeeds at their search roll they will find 1d6 cyphers.  If they roll a 20 on their search roll they find an artifact instead.  The search difficulty level increases by 1 per-hour spent searching the same area if at least one of the PCs found a cypher.  Eventually, the PCs will want to move on to a new area for easier searching.  This movement triggers a random encounter roll.

*Every time the PCs move from one area to another a random encounter is rolled.*
*Keep in mind the dangers of carrying too many cyphers.*

X'actori is perpetually changing do it's constructive nature.  Areas are huge in scope regardless of their description.  Once the PCs have left the central-tube area, or any other area, they are automatically 1d6 areas away from returning there.  If the PCs decide they want to get to the edge of X'actori they are 1d6 areas away from getting there as well.  Basically, once the PCs are in X'actori, they're in for awhile.

Random Encounters (See X'actorians below for behavior details.)

1-3.  A scout has taken notice.

4.  If the PCs are looking for someone, they just found them.  Otherwise roll again.

5-6.  The PCs are offered a cypher trade by a quantum peddler.

7-8.  The PCs encounter a cyborg.

9.  Another group of people (1d6+1) hunting for cyphers.  Treat all as level 2.  Gm intrusion: They are hostile.

10-11.  Busted. 1d6 guards come after them.

12-14.  There are 2d6+6 couriers working in this area.  Searching is 1 step harder.

15.  The PCs have moved through some sort of radiation field.  Roll for cypher danger as if the PCs are 3 over their limit (Numenera, pg. 279.)

16.  The PCs stumble right into an X'aminer.

17-20.  No encounter.

Escaping X'actori

Outside of some strange cypher or artifact technology (such as teleportation) there are really only two ways off of X'actori.  One:  The PCs have to find their way back to the center-tube, ditch all cyphers and artifacts, and simply step into the tube and they will descend harmlessly to the Ninth World below.  The Other:  The PCs have to make their way to the edge of X'actori and get VERY creative.  There's no sugar-coating this escape route.  Hopefully, they will possess some cyphers or artifacts that can help get them to the ground below.  There is no standard, preordained escape route off the edge.  Sit back and watch the PCs brainstorm a plan of escape.  They could always try to get back to the center-tube...

At either location, the PCs will almost certainly be spotted by a scout.  At that point, the clock will be ticking on their plan of action.


X'actori is populated by automatons of various size and intellect, all of which are purposed for the collection and integration of cyphers and artifacts. Listed below are just a sampling of these machines and the roles they serve.  Sometimes X'actorians are encountered exploring outside of X'actori.  Such raiding/search expeditions will consist of 1 X'aminer, 4 Guards, 2 Scouts, and 1d6+6 Couriers.

X'actorian Courier:  2 (6)

Couriers are general labor units focused only their task at hand which is usually the transfer and clean up of scrap.  Their exhaust looks like liquid ink but harmlessly evaporates within a few moments. They do not communicate with people.

Motive:  General labor unit.
Environment:  X'actori.
Health:  6
Damage Inflicted:  2 points
Armor:  2
Movement:  Short
Modifications:  Defends as level 3 do to ink-like exhaust fumes clouding vision.
Combat:  A courier attacks with a grappling claw or an electrical zap at short distance.
Interaction:  Couriers do not communicate with PCs and will do everything they can to go about their business of clearing areas and transporting scrap.  A courier will only fight if their task is being obstructed and will return to work as soon as possible.  If a courier is attacked, every round 1d6 couriers will come to its aid.
Use:  Th PCs see 2d6 couriers carrying a load of scrap that is sure to contain plenty of cyphers.
Loot:  1 cypher.
GM Intrusion:  A wayward courier has detected and become transfixed with obtaining a particular cypher from a PC and will stop at nothing to obtain it.  The commotion draws 1d6 couriers to it's aid every round.

X'actorian Courier

X'actorian Quantum Peddler:  3 (9)

Quantum Peddlers are X'actorian outlaws.  They lurk in the shadows and crevasses of machinary to avoid the notice of X'aminers who will destroy them on sight.  They can communicate with people but their words are constantly interrupted by clicks and beeps.  Peddlers are demented machines warped by an unknown source of quantum energy.  

Motive: The illegal trade of cyphers.
Environment:  X'actori.
Health:  12
Damage Inflicted: 3 points
Armor:  3
Movement:  Short
Modifications:  Attacks as level 5 and does 4 damage when enraged.
Combat:  Peddlers attack by swinging their magnetic claws at their targets.  They can also latch on to someone with one of their tentacles and try to strangle them while clinging to walls with at least one  other tentacle.  To strangle, Peddlers make an grapple attack without doing damage.  Once strangled, the victim can escape with a difficulty 5 Might roll.  The victim takes 3 Might damage per round while strangled, ignoring armor unless they have some sort of head/neck protection.  The peddler can still attack while strangling someone because they only need on tentacle to cling to a surface.
Interaction: Communicating with a Quantum Peddler is like talking to a paranoid lunatic.
Use:   The peddler crawls out of a crevasse and offers a chance for a PC to unload an unwanted cypher for a better one.  The main part of it's body opens up to reveal a bizarre quantum-scape.  The PC sets their cypher inside, the doors close and re-open to reveal a new randomly determined cypher for the PC to take.  That's the trade, and the first trade is always fair.  Any further trades with the peddler have unpredictable results. Roll 1d20 and consult the chart below:

1-3.  The peddler accepts the cypher then steals away with it without making a trade.
4-7.  The peddler is so enraged by the offering that it violently attacks the PC with intent to kill.
8-10.  The peddler returns the same cypher.
11-13.  Instead of offering a new cypher, the peddler offers 2 randomly determined oddities.
14-16.  The peddler offers 1d6 x 10 Shins.
17-18.  The peddler is so delighted with the trade that they offer a Cypher-Scope* artifact.
19-20.  The peddler is so delighted with the trade that they offer a Cypher-Sat* artifact.
*See below for new artifacts.

Loot:  None, a destroyed peddler collapses into the quantum realm.
GM Intrusion:  An X'aminer and two Guards appear to break up the transaction.

X'actorian Quantum Peddler

X'actorian Guard:  4 (12)

X'actorian guards are the main security force of X'actori.  They are subservient to X'aminers and will stop at nothing to maintain order all over the floating scrapyard.

Motive:  To keep order in X'actori.
Environment:  X'actori.
Health:  12
Damage Inflicted:  4 points
Armor: 3
Movement:  Long
Modifications:  Highly mobile and defends as level 5.
Combat:  Guards keep a safe hovering distance and prefer to "herd" their targets to where-ever they're supposed to be.  They are highly mobile and have a vertical laser-swivel blaster that gives them many angles of fire including from directly above.  If they're targets do not obey their commands, guards will open fire until submission or death.  Guards can spend a round blurring their own location with their ink-like exhaust causing attacks against them to be made at 1 rank higher difficulty. Each guard also has a one-use paralysis spray at short distance.  Any PC hit by this spray has to make a difficulty 4 Might roll or become paralyzed for 1d6 rounds.
Interaction:  Guards communicate in basic terms like "Drop the cypher", "Move along", and  "Surrender to X'actori."
Use:  Any time a commotion breaks out in X'actori, 2 guards appear in 1d6 rounds, with 2 more appearing 1d6 rounds after that, and so on.
Loot:  1 cypher.
GM Intrusion:  When a guard is destroyed it explodes doing 5 damage to all nearby.

X'actorian Guard

X'actorian Scout:  2 (6)

Scouts are curious spies that are always on the lookout for threats to X'actorian order.

Motive:  To spy for and gather information for guards and X'aminers.
Environment:  X'actori.
Health:  6
Damage Inflicted:  2 points
Armor:  2
Movement:  Long
Modifications:  Perception at level 5.
Combat:  Scouts almost never enter combat and they are protected by an electromagnetic field that shocks anyone touching them for 2 points of damage (ignoring armor.) 
Interaction:  Scouts will only communicate with their superiors.  Everything else is simply observed.
Use:  Scouts are constantly recording and sending encoded signals to their superiors.  Every round that they are watching the PCs, there is an escalating 1 in 6 chance ( 2 in 6 the next round, then 3 in 6, etc.) that a pair of  X'actorian guards will appear.
Loot:  1 cypher.
GM Intrusion:  Just when the PCs think they've gotten away with something, they notice a(nother) scout hovering in the distance recording their every move.

X'actorian Scout

X'actorian X'aminer:  6 (18)

X'aminers are purposed with examining and processing everything that is collected by X'actori as it scours the Ninth World for cypher technology.  They possess a ruthless, immovable will to do their duty and will destroy anything they view as a threat to their consolidation of cyphers.  They answer to a superior power that resides in the inner machinery of X'actori.

Motive:  To make sure that all cyphers and artifacts are identified, processed, and properly assimilated into the structure called X'actori.
Environment:  X'actori.
Health: 24
Damage Inflicted: 6 points
Armor:  4
Movement:  Short
Modifications:  None.
Combat:  An X'aminer can attack with each of it's 4 tentacles on it's turn.  Their claws strike for 6 points of damage or can be used as a grappling attack (difficulty 6 Might roll to escape, +2 difficulty to all actions while grappled.)  One tentacle has a cypher-magnet that can be used rip cyphers off a PC and can hold up to 6 cyphers or 1 artifact at a time.  X'aminers don't have to be able to see the cyphers to take them.  The last tentacle is a large syringe that can inject a sleeping medicine into a target that renders them unconscious for 1d6 x 10 minutes.  Resisting this medicine is a difficulty 6 Might test. If an X'aminer feels that it is endanger of being destroyed, it will spend it's turn emitting an ear-piercing siren which stuns for 1 round anyone who fails a difficulty 6 Might test.  1d6+1 guards will appear 2 rounds later in response to the siren.
Interaction:  X'aminers are among the most independent of the X'actorians, or at least they appear to be.  Their speech is droid-like, yet intelligent and self-aware.  X'aminers look down upon humans and other organic Ninth-Worlders, but they don't automatically view them all as a threat.  These large, tentacled machines believe that anyone or anything that possesses a cypher is obligated to hand it over.  Refusal to do so will be met with force, lethal if necessary.
Use:  X'aminers are stationed at various places all over X'actori including the conveyor belts that shuttle all the scrap (and people) collected by X'actori as it wanders the Ninth World.
Loot:  1d6 cyphers or 1 artifact.
GM Intrusion:  The X'aminer grabs a PCs weapon and shatters it to bits.

X'actorian X'aminer

X'actorian Cyborg, Typical  3 (9)

X'actorian Cyborgs are living beings, mostly humans, that have been mechanized by X'actorians for a purpose that is yet unclear.  Their minds have been mostly wiped and their bodies are transformed, sometimes radically, such as losing limbs. The synthsteel on their bodies is laced with cypher-tech so their only escape from X'actori would be to throw themselves off--which occasionally happens.  They are used for a variety of tasks ranging from rough labor to things inexplicably random.  It seems that they are some sort of experiment...

Motive:  Unclear.
Environment:  X'actori.
Health:  9
Damage Inflicted:  4 points
Armor:  3
Movement:  Short
Modifications:  Defend as level 5 against mind affecting attacks.
Combat:  Some cyborgs seem better coordinated than others.  Either way, their attacks consist of brutal slams with their armored fists or lashes with loose cables.
Interaction:  When a cyborg speaks they do so with a synthesized voice.  Their movements are awkward and mechanized.  Not all cyborgs are at the same level of cognition.  Roll 1d6 to see what state the cyborg is in..

1.  The cyborg doesn't fully realize what it's become.  It thinks that it's just "wearing" a radical cypher that it found.  If the PCs insist on pointing out what's actually happened to it, the cyborg suffers a catastrophic mental meltdown which attracts the attention of a pair of guards.
2-3.  The cyborg is completely mindless and drooling.  It just wanders aimlessly.
4.  The cyborg senses some commonality with the PCs and will not stop following them.  But it doesn't speak at all.
5.  The cyborg is a full blown X'actarian and assaults the PCs on sight.
6.  The cyborg is hiding and implores the PCs to help it escape.

Use:  Seemingly random.
Loot:  None.
GM Intrusion:  The cyborg "plugs" into the PC's temple doing 4 Intellect damage and stunning them for 1d6 rounds.

X'actorian Cyborg

Size Comparison

*New Artifacts


Level: 1d6
Form:  A thin wand-like device about one foot long.
Effect:  A cypher-scope helps to maxmize your results when searching for cyphers.  Add the cypher-scope's level to the result of any roll to find cyphers and to the roll determining the number of cyphers found.  This counts as one use.
Depletion:  1 in 1d20


Level: 1d6+4
Form:  A synthsteel satellite roughly 6 inches in diameter that hovers near the user's head.  Comes in various shapes; no two are alike.  Bonding with a cypher-sat is a difficulty 6 Intellect (Numenera) roll and each attempt takes 1d6 x 10 minutes.  A person can only bond with one cypher-sat at a time.  Absorbing a cypher into a cypher-sat takes approximately 10 minutes after which the original cypher becomes useless scrap.  When a cypher-sat is depleted the user suffers 4 Intellect damage due to feedback.  Feedback can also occur via GM intrusion.
Effect:  Varies per model:

  • Alpha:  Absorbs the essence of one cypher allowing the user to employ that cypher's effects a number of times equal to the cypher-sat's level.  Every attempted use counts against depletion.
  • Beta:  Absorbs the essence of a number of cyphers equal to the cypher-sat's level, essentially allowing the user to possess more cyphers than their cypher limit.  Each use counts against depletion.
Depletion:  1 in 1d20

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