My Numenera Nano player was super excited about his future T6 type ability Traverse the Worlds. It is in fact so powerful, that he had some reservations on how I would handle it as a GM.
“I just don’t see how you gonna do it? I could instantly be anywhere!” he gasped.
Don’t worry my little world perambulating friend, as you will peregrinate worlds as no man decussated them before!
Here is how I’m gonna do it.
Let’s open up Discovery page 43 and check what the fuss is about.
Traverse the Worlds
You instantaneously transmit yourself to another planet, dimension, plane, or level of reality. You must know that the destination exists; the GM will decide if you have enough information to confirm its existence and the level of difficulty to reach the destination…
Fabric of Reality
There are three limitations in total, but for prepping purposes I am only interested in two:
“You must know that the destination exists;”
“…the GM will decide if you have enough information to confirm its existence and the level of difficulty to reach the destination. “
So my player needs to know that the destination exists, and also have some information about it in order to try to crossbeam there.
There are two ways a player can get this knowledge required for the power to work.
- Character backstory
- Knowledge gained through play
Extracting known locations from player’s backstory
Locations could live on a character sheet, or come out of the blue in a case when player uses her XP and buys herself one. Both might be problematic for me, as they could be anything really.
“I traverse back to my parents’ house”
As a GM I mostly have no idea how character’s backstory stuff looks, but it’s not my job to know that anyway. It is on a player to tell the table how it looks. There is a nifty technique on how to handle this, and it’s called the Flashback.
At the exact moment when a player character imagines her childhood home (in order to activate the ability), we freeze the time and delve into her mind…
“An image of your parents’ kitchen comes to life in your mind. You are 12 years old and are looking at your granny preparing you a breakfast. What do you do?”
During the flashback, I could guide the player’s mind into reliving this location. Go in deep as needed: Why do you remember this day in particular? What happened that day? Play it like a therapy session, and try to get some insight on how it looks at present, if possible. Is the location still the same at present day? Who might be there now?
In order not to bore down other players, I could have them improv as characters from her memories, or as figments of her imagination. These she might need to overcome in order to create an accurate and vivid memory.
I can also use flashbacks when a player decides to prepare her mind meditating, prior to the translation. She might expend a recovery slot, at which point I can play out the flashback, get all the info I can while allowing a player to lower the teleport DC.
Locations visited through play
Location knowledge gained through play is much easier to handle, as I know everything about them already. Have a list of all locations visited or learned, and add additional notes on what changed there in the meantime. Create a random table or two, to get some ideas.
A Place yet to be
A player might do some active research on a new location during play, which may turn into interesting adventure on its own. Other than that this research can be also done as a downtime activity, or out of game via chat.
With great power comes great failure
Traverse the Worlds doesn’t mention what happens on a fail roll. I would reckon that fail still produces the transferral but misses the destination by some mark, depending on a scale.
If the players are planet hopping and miss the DC by some margin, they jump to the neighboring planet or a moon. If the destination is a place on their current planet, they might miss it by a number of days walking, etc…
On a roll of 1, I would upscale the miss distance, so if they wanted to traverse to a faraway village, they are now on a random planet. If they were planet hopping they are now in a different dimension, etc…
This might be a little too harsh, so would probably scale it down accordingly. Also, I can always rule that on a failed roll they don’t go anywhere, but rather just stand in a circle like some fools holding their hands together. It’s funny, but a bit boring. Players are T6 at that point, they should get in some serious trouble!
One interesting direction to think about this is once the characters appear on a new location, what kind of activity they interrupted? They might show up in someone’s bedroom or bathroom and cause some awkward scenes. They may interrupt some important and tense negotiations. Appear in the middle of a battle, or in a hazardous environment.
Additional Numenera Materials
For materials on parallel worlds and dimensions I would grab Into the Outside and In Alternate Dimensions.
For planets there is Into the Night, and for deep sea locations I have Into the Deep.
For prior world ruins, Jade Colossus or the Ruin Deck are perfect. For…
Wait a minute. Did MCG design this ability just so I would need to buy all the books?
Curse you, Monte Cook! Curse you! ::shakes fist::
Join other explorers, warriors and adepts of d20 Patreon and help shape this blog into awesomeness.
If you are just phasing by, flick us a beer on Beer-fi.
Occasionally, we send a digest of published posts to our subscribers.