Today, we’ll look at a selection of numenera devices and items that could show up in Pat’s campaign; these are in addition to the randomly-rolled devices that might be found as treasure in the process of adventuring through the Ninth World.
Oddities are strange things with no clear purpose, which may or may not be able to be adapted to some form of useful function. Often, they’re used in the same way that curios and kitsch have been throughout human history – half trade object and half display piece. Here are some that can be found around the City of the Missing, in the shops, on shelves in homes, and on display in public spaces.
- A small piece of apparently unbreakable glass that slowly ripples like the surface of a pond.
- A small cup that instantly cools anything placed in it to 40 F (4.4C), although the cup itself remains room temperature.
- A brass-colored disc that occasionally bounces up onto its edge and spins several times before falling over again.
- A small metallic shrub that produces several (1D6+1) pieces of brightly colored glass every week, which crumble away a day after being picked or falling off.
- A pair of metal sticks that can be used as hairsticks, which causes keratin in contact with it (hair and fingernails) to turn a vivid shade of blue.
- A bottle of bubbling translucent green liquid; it doesn’t seem possible to open it.
- A dozen rings seamlessly joined together, each of which can be tapped to produce a musical tone.
- An egg that defies all efforts to crack it open.
- A particularly shiny red rock that constantly remains hot enough to be unpleasant to touch but never actually harmful.
- A small stronglass ball that tastes like sweet mint and leaves the tongue stained yellow if sucked on.
- A nearly-empty jar of purple gel that never quite can be scraped completely empty; the gel smells like roasting meat but tastes like motor oil.
- Two balls of red fur that will envelop whatever touches them until pulled free, providing a soft and warm slipper or mitten.
- A bottle that has a static charge around it, which contains an incredibly bright point of light inside.
- A metal cage with a miniature star inside, which produces startlingly complex music from time to time when storms rage across the surface.
- A spindle-shaped piece of blue stone with a golden rod stuck in it that occasionally vibrates and produces fragments of not-quite-human voices, none of which speak a familiar language.
- A glove sized for a creature half again as large as a human with seven fingers and two thumbs.
- A boot of incredibly durable and flexible synth shaped for a creature with velociraptor-like claws.
This is just a sampling of the oddities, but it hopefully provides an insight into the sheer amount of cruft that the Ninth World has lying about as detritus of the prior eras.
Next we have a sampling of the cyphers in the area; some are as-found widgets, while others are modified or augmented by the skills of those in the area.
Type: Usable (Anoetic)
Effect: These usually come in the form of small glassy bulbs filled with a silvery liquid that aren’t quite as fragile as they look, but which will still break open when thrown. Each one contains a repair-function nanoswarm that lacks any direction, which will sample the environment and attempt to ‘repair’ it according to ages-obsolete programming. The result is essentially a short-lived Iron Wind that fills an area out to a short distance from the impact point that then drifts with the prevailing wind, constantly and rapidly rebuilding everything in the area of effect. Regardless of what results, any living creatures are effectively rendered part of the terrain in a horrific fashion.
Type: Wearable (Anoetic)
Effect: This set of stronglass bracelets are shot through with glistening metallic threads; when the activation button is pushed, the wearer feels a sharp tingling where the bracelets touch their skin, followed by a sharp awareness of all metallic objects in their vicinity. For the next 28 hours, they can project a powerful electromagnetic force at any object within a long range, with the effect of propelling the object with sufficient speed and force that it counts as a ranged weapon (up to 100 pounds per cypher level); items can only move in a straight line away from the bearer, however. Users may make a Speed check equal to the cypher’s leel to attempt to use this force to launch themselves into and through the air, if they’re light enough.
Type: Anoetic (Injectable)
Effect: These ampules of bright green goo can be pressed against a creature’s skin and injected, an action that most find only marginally preferable to the idea of dying. The injected goo neutralizes all poisons and diseases of equal or lower level than the cypher, while granting an additional Might check to overcome those of higher level. The reason users find the idea of letting their ailment have its way is that the goo causes the users to feel as if they’re burning up from the inside, spending the next 28 hours with all actions save the additional Might check modified by two steps to their detriment.
Type: Occultic (Usable)
Effect: This is a matched set of dark spheres, each with an array of buttons and dials along one side, with an opening on the opposite side. Any information-containing object fed into the hole before activation will be rendered into a metallic cylinder engraved with a cipher containing the original information, the difficulty of the cipher being equal to the level of the Encryption Pod. Feeding the rod into the other device of the pair will cause it to reconstruct the original materials, the cipher cleanly removed. Convergence agents often carry one half of these pods to encrypt their findings to send to their superiors.
Type Occultic (Wearable)
Effect: This hefty piece of machinery is surprisingly light and easy to move; fastened into a harness with backpack straps, it hardly impedes the wearer’s movements even before activation. When used, it generates a field that modified the effects of inertia for the user, giving them two assets on all movement tasks and all attempts to avoid being moved against the user’s will. When active, the user hears a high-pitched sizzling sound and can’t smell anything but the scent of burnt sugar. The effects of the device last for four hours, after which it burns out.
Type: Occultic (Injectable)
Effect: This complex band can be activated by being pressed to exposed skin, an action that deals one point of Might damage as it samples flesh and blood before injecting the person with a serum that renders them immune to all forms of poison and disease for the next 28 hours; even ambient radiation damage is shrugged off by the user, as their genetic structure and immune system are massively bolstered. A side effect of the injection is that the user spends the next week with a craving for an alien flower that they’ve never seen before.
Artifacts are the powerhouse devices of Numenera, ways to add semi-permanent abilities to characters. Fairly rare and often fairly powerful, they’re the truest treasures of the Ninth World. Here are a few that have been found around Guran.
Gravity Arc Projector
Effect: This staff has a silver-tinted translucent ball at one end with an intense point of light inside, suspended in a silver crescent with several thick cables coiling down the length of the staff; these connect to a softly humming ovoid at the other end. At base, it can be used as a light bludgeoning and slashing weapon that deals 4 damage rather than 2. Activating it has one of two effects, either of which trigger a depletion roll.
Gravity Pulse: A single target within a long range is subject to a Speed attack; if the attack hits, the creature is violently slammed into the ground, dealing 10 points of bludgeoning damage as the force of gravity magnifies immensely around it for a moment.
Anti-gravity: For ten minutes, the wielder of the staff is able to fly up to a long range each round, effectively freed from the hold of gravity.
Depletion: 1 in 50 (1-2 on a 1D100)
Effect: Similar in design to the Gravity Arc Projector, this staff is capable of projecting a precise telekinetic effect that enables it to lift up to 500 pounds per level at up to a long range, moving it at about five miles per hour from one point to another. Each activation targets a single object and lasts up to one hour. It is possible to use this to enable an entire group to fly if the artifact is powerful enough, by lifting a platform under the group and moving it toward the desired location.
Depletion: 1 in 100
Mnemonic Puzzle Box
Effect: This intricately detailed cube is able to capture the mind of a living creature and run it as a virtual simulation, effectively allowing a creature to survive death if used within the first minute or so of death. The resulting mind is of a level equal to the level of the artifact in terms of how well it can think; while this will not allow a nonsapient beast to become sapient, it can enable those who use it to think more swiftly and clearly than they might have in life. A box can only capture one mind, thereafter serving to simulate it perfectly for as long as the box exists. Most human minds don’t handle this well, as the box doesn’t have sensory inputs by default, although it can be connected to external devices and even installed in synthetic bodies.
Blessed Blade of Wonder
Effect: An elegant-looking sword-hilt that, when activated, creates a probability field that anything that touches the shimmering distortion projected from the blade will be violently harmed. This distortion deal damage equal to the artifact’s level, which counts as a light weapon. The damage that results varies from moment to moment, with everything from simple crushing and tearing to outright manipulation of atomic matter, with severe radiation burns and transmutation of materials happening. One notable event involving the first Blessed Blade of Wonder remains enshrined in local lore: an abhuman was struck by the field and had the path of the blow transmute into diamond, the slab of which remains on display in the town hall of Guran to this day. Each activation of the distortion “blade” lasts for ten minutes.
Depletion: 1 in 20