Inspired by Aaron de Orive’s 2020 First Ten RPGs, a brief account of the roleplaying games I have played most recently, beginning with the most recent and working backwards. Number Eight: Monte Cook’s Numenera.
Numenera is a science fantasy roleplaying game set one billion years in the future. At least eight great civilizations have risen and then collapsed. Player characters live during the ninth civilization, the so-called Ninth World. It is a world rich in remnants of vanished cultures, not all of which appear to have been human.
Character generation is extremely simple: “I am a [descriptor] [noun] who [focus/main talent].” Thus, one might be a strong barbarian who fights, or a wise archaeologist who learns, or so on. We didn’t play it for long but the game mechanics seemed perfectly functional.
As I recall, I played someone from the Eight World who craftily froze himself so that he could emerge in the time after the Eight World fell and dominate the barbarians to come with his wonders of technology. He got his timing wrong so he emerged to discover he was armed with technology slightly less sophisticated than Ninth World technology. Whoops.