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Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

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Numenera is a Science Fantasy Tabletop Roleplaying Game set on Earth one billion years in the future, after the fall of many, many future civilizations. A brainchild of the veteran d20 System designer Monte Cook, the game was crowd-funded via Kickstarter in August and September of 2012 and released on August 13, 2013. In April 2013, before the game was officially released, a separate Kickstarter campaign raised money for the February 2017 licensed computer RPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera.

In the game's setting, eight great civilizations have risen and fallen, with the setting being what is called the "Ninth World". Although the current civilization is at a medieval level, the eight previous civilizations have left behind innumerable technological artefacts — machines collectively called numenera. To most people, the numenera are curious remnants of the past that are rarely understood, sometimes useful, often dangerous and usually thought of as magic. In the Ninth World, the future is built with the bones of the past — a past that is mostly unknown, yet always present.

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Like most independent games of its era, Numenera focuses more on roleplaying and narrative than on combat and powergaming. As the player's guide itself says: "The key to playing Numenera is the story. The way to "win" this game is to come away with a great tale." Characters are created by having the player fill in three blanks in a simple sentence: "I am a (descriptor) (type) who (focus)." The descriptor is an adjective that describes the character, the type is the character class, and the focus is a verb that also describes the character in some way. Each of the three variables have their own effects on the character; for instance, a Tough Glaive who Rides the Lightning gains various bonuses to defensive stats, is skilled at physical combat, and can control lightning in various ways. Every challenge in the game, including combat, is treated the same way mechanically: a d20 is rolled against a set difficulty level, and if the die beats it, the player succeeds at the task. The player can influence the difficulty level by expending Experience Points or Cast from Hit Points, and the Game Master can intrude on player actions and cause unforeseen difficulties; the intention is to allow storytelling to flow organically from the system in this way.

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This game provides examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: The University of Doors. Located in its own pocket universe and requiring that prospective students fashion their own keys to enter, among other things, the University teaches its students everything they might need to know about doors and portals, from lockpicking, to architecture, to wormholes, to password recovery.
  • After the End: Taken Up to Eleven. Highly advanced civilizations have risen at least eight times already, and done whatever such civilizations do — collapsed, moved out, transcended their physical forms — leaving behind a world practically made of unaging ruins.
  • Alien Geometries: One of the ancient worlds could fold space and play with physics, so this is not too hard to find:
    • One of the starter adventures in the corebook, Three Sanctums describes three towers in distant parts of the Steadfast. Each has two conduit hallways that run directly to the other two when walked down, despite the conduit ending a short way from the tower. Taken Up to Eleven with a black cube in one tower, which somehow either contains or links to a Dyson Sphere of the red giant star Antares.
    • The Violet Vale from the Ninth World Guidebook, and the official adventure named after it, manages to do this with just flowers. The reglae plants are purple flowers of extradimensional origin, bend time and space as they grow, and then grow through the rifts. So any unplanned step near them can turn into a semi-random teleport to another part of the plant, many miles (or even years!) away.
  • Alluring Anglerfish: Spiny schisans, eel-like predators found in the ocean depths, are a variation. While they do have a glowing lure at the tip of a stalk on their chin, their main way of attracting prey is with the kite-shaped, red and yellow fin at the end of their tail. Through their low-level telepathy, they make it seem like something a viewer swears they recognize from somewhere, luring them in to investigate and stumble into the schisan's mouth.
  • Alternate Calendar: The Ninth World Guidebook reveals that there are a number of calendars in play, but the most used one is the creation of the Aeon Priests — 313 days that are 28 hours long, divided into 10 months of 31 days each (310) and the last 3 days serving as a buffer between years. Comparatively, the year is still 52 weeks long, but the weeks only last for 6 days rather than 7 days. And even though the days are 28 hours long, time is kept rather loosely via the position of the sun rather than an actual number.
  • The Alternet: The Datasphere.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • The varakith, giant insectoid warriors that were believed to be mindless monsters until someone managed to translate their singing. The first song translated was a bloodthirsty chant that gloried in their slaughter of other races, and others didn't get any better. Their culture views the world as a giant gladiatorial arena, with the implication they were created specifically for gladiator games.
    • The yovok are motivated primarily by the desire to kill for pleasure, and are so disorganized that the only way they get things done is by yelling at each other until one gets their way.
    • Abhumans in general are abhuman rather than mutants because their ancestors chose to become violent and cruel rather than to maintain their humanity.
    • Anything with "Nibovian" in its name, and Ultraterrestrials in general, can generally be assumed to be incredibly unpleasant with little clear motive.
  • Ambiguously Human: Quanon, a roughly humanoid creature, has undergone so many machine enhancements and biomechanical replacements that it's hard to imagine what he looked like originally or if he even started out human.
  • Anti-Hoarding: There is a hard cap on how many Ciphers (basically one-shot magical effects) a character can carry at once. Combined with the explicit instructions for the Game Master to be generous about Ciphers specifically, this is designed to counter the RPG players default urge to hoard every resource they obtain indefinitely.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Numenera come in four different types:
    • Cyphers: Old devices that once served a purpose, perhaps as part of a larger machine. With a little jury-rigging, an adventurer can make it do something useful, like turning an ancient battery into a bomb. They break down or are consumed during use, and carrying too many at once can be bad for your health.
    • Oddities: Devices that are usually useless for an adventurer, and may have no discernible function at all. Their supernatural/superscientific properties make them interesting to scholars and collectors, which makes them great Vendor Trash. That said, one or two specific items might turn out to be a case of It May Help You on Your Quest in the hands of very savvy and resourceful explorers.
    • Artifacts: Straightforward gear, like weapons, armor, tools, etc. Unlike cyphers, they're not likely to break down anytime soon, though some might run out of power and need recharging if you use them too often. Most artifacts are jury-rigged from pieces of larger machines and modified for use as combat gear. Artifacts often invoke the maxim, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a big gun".
    • Discoveries: A catch-all term for numenera that are immediately useful, but not entirely suited to be used as adventuring gear. An example would be a functional underground mass transit network.
  • Artificial Gravity: The Sunken Palace in Rarmon, home of the Empress of Pytharon, can rotate in any direction and has its own gravity. The sphere can be rotated so that the entrance is concealed underground and the floors are perpendicular to the ground, with no discomfort to anyone within.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The people of the underwater city of Ahmas firmly believe this: in their society, might and combat prowess are the only ways to achieve status and power, and their king is thus the best and deadliest fighter of their lot.
  • A World Half Full: Sure, it's a Scavenger World After the End... er, eight ends, but you're going to reclaim the secrets of the past to save the future.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Choosing the "Wields Two Weapons at Once" focus allows players to do this with another PC, granting them both defense bonuses.
  • Bad with the Bone: If called on to fight, Sallian Orsay wields a long sword made of honed whale bone.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Jaekel people of Aras Island want nothing to do with the nearby kingdom of Ancuan, revere a bloodthirsty, animalist nature above all things, and have turned their bodies into highly specialised killing machines.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Renowned for his otherworldly hand-to-hand combat skills, Kollos claims to have found a way to harness the power of the universe within his cells, channelling this energy into a lethal fighting style called fistprayers. He and his followers preach about creating a more harmonious, safer world.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Hidden Rarrow is home to a significant marketplace of taboo, forbidden or dangerous goods.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Ravage bears are blind, tusked predators that can track you via smell and hug you to death.
  • Beast Man:
    • Margr, a species of abhumans with goatlike body parts. Individual margr vary greatly in appearance, so one might have a full goat head while another just has horns and a third has goatlike legs.
    • Animalistic surgery is common among the Jaekel people of Aras Island. Bandages and odd healing accouterments are frequent sights, and claws, teeth, horns and wings are prized body enhancements.
  • Beneath the Earth: The Inner Sea, also called the Beneath, is a massive worldwide ocean buried between the upper crust and the mantle.
  • Betrayal Insurance: Rumour has it that their numenera devices allow the recruiters of the Milavian warlord Tarvesh to implant a failsafe in the recruit's mind. Should they prove traitorous, the psychic imprint will destroy the mind from within.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The scutimorph, which look like twelve-foot-long centipedes that wrap themselves around trees. Oddly, they're actually peaceful unless you bother them. Circumstances will likely lead to you having to bother them.
  • Big Dumb Object: The Ninth World is littered with them, the Amber Monolith featured in the cover art and intro fluff being one of the most prominent.
  • Big Fun: Harcorth Munn, mayor of Dynafel, is a well-liked, well-known, rotund man; no stranger to the city's bars, casinos and brothels.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "The Amber Monolith" short story. Calaval discovers and activates a teleporter to an orbital station and finds the information he needs to join the Aeon Priests, but his beloved thuman Feddik dies of exposure to the Iron Wind during the journey to the eponymous Amber Monolith.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Some of the strange flora and fauna of the Ninth World isn't just from scientific experiments from the past, but also because some came from other worlds or even other dimensions.
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes: The skeane — an alien species vaguely resembling emperor penguins with fluke-like, bony tails and six limbs, four ending in seal-like flippers and the front two in webbed hands — have three sexes: egg givers, who produce a small egg once a year; egg takers, who take it into their bodies and brood it until it's ready to hatch; and feeders, who feed the young by regurgitating a special nutrient fluid. These sexes are physically identical to each other in almost all respects, with the only occupation being the presence or absence of white nodules underneath their tails: givers have two, takers four and feeders none.
  • Body Horror: Several monsters in the setting. Certain phenomena are known to mutate humans and beasts, almost always into freakish things with too many tentacles and orifices.
  • Born into Slavery: The children of slaves are born into slavery.
  • Born Under the Sail: The Redfleets, an organization of traders, explorers and small-time pirates. They revere the ocean, and dedicate their lives to exploring it both by ship and submarine to discover its many treasures. They have no interest in man-made things, however, and focus exclusively on natural treasures — oceanic formations, islands, sea creatures and so on.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: The weapon proficiency systems of most games is cut down to "light, medium, and heavy." Starting Jacks and Glaives have this trope.
  • Brain Food: If anyone comes close to the Brain Devourer, it sprouts bladed tentacles that lop off heads and siphon out brains.
  • Brain Uploading: The only way to get into the Thon Iridescence (a nigh-infinite virtual world powered by a black hole) is to let the scanning beam deployed by the docking station scan your body, disintegrate it, and create a virtual construct within itself.
  • The Caligula: Holiva the First, king of Thaemor, lost his sanity long ago. He doesn't see the potential of his lands or his people, and spends his waking hours talking to his own hand, which urges him toward only one thing: the restoration of the 'shadow herd', which it describes as a group of dark, formless creatures, born of a wicked mind older than Thaemor, that will help Thaemor become what it once was if they're freed. Holiva pools all of his country's resources toward this single purpose.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": A billion years in the future, all the animals we know in the 21st century are long gone. The text might talk about rats, deer, flies or ravens, but the animals being described are at least slightly different from the creatures we think of today.
  • Cast from Experience Points: Players can sacrifice unspent XP for temporary advantages. (Conversely, they can also gain XP by accepting disadvantages.)
  • Cast from Hit Points: All three classes (or 'types' as Numenera calls them) power their abilities by expending an appropriate physical or mental stat: essentially, the game is designed to model progressive exhaustion and avoid Critical Existence Failure. As you progress you gain 'edge' which represents endurance, allowing you to blunt the damage.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: At least one of the ancient empires spanned the stars with ease. Although that empire is dust just like the rest, the Into The Night supplement is all about finding and using that tech (there are spaceships and teleporters, at least) to explore outer space, other planets, and more inconceivable locations than what Earth provides.
  • Character Class System: Starts with the Fighter, Mage, Thief archetype and expands on it.
  • Character Customization: The character creation process starts with picking your class, then picking descriptors (e.g. "clever, tough, strong-willed, or mystical"), then a build focus.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: King Yorvic of Malevich is a three-year-old boy, and is served as regent by his cousin Ellabon.
  • Church Militant: The Order of Truth, called the Amber Papacy by its enemies.
  • Citadel City:
    • Bodrov lies atop an impossible sort of plateau, and the path into the city leads through a series of artificial caverns and tunnels, which can be sealed at many points and have never been fully explored. It's difficult to imagine an invading army or other danger gaining entrance.
    • Kordech possesses a high, well-constructed wall and no fewer than 26 defensible wooden palisades near or around the surrounding small villages to protect the shiul herds at night.
    • Jyrek, designed by Kaldon to keep his wife, eleven sons and four daughters safe, is as much a fortress as it is a city. With its triple walls (made of redstone, limnelwood and electrified synth), interconnected walkways between buildings, and guard towers at every corner, Jyrek might be one of the best-protected places in the Steadfast.
  • City on the Water: The City of Bridges, capital of Ghan, extends out from the coast, a number of ancient bridges stretch more than a mile to a series of massive metal platforms joined by another web of bridges. Despite common belief, the city doesn't float and the platforms are affixed to the sea floor.
  • The City Narrows: Mulen's beautiful streets and towers conceal a vast undercity, home of thieves, beggars, escaped slaves and inhuman creatures.
  • Common Tongue: The Truth is the predominant language in the Steadfast, where it's spoken by about 80% of the people; in cities, that number is closer to 100%. In the Beyond, about 60% of the people speak the Truth as their primary language, but many isolated villages have their own specific tongue.
  • Conjoined Twins: The skeane — aliens somewhat resembling emperor penguins with six seal-like limbs — almost never have twins, but when twins are born they are almost always conjoined. These are raised with great care, as the skeane believe such children to be gifts from their gods and as these conjoined twins are very susceptible to disease and usually die young.
  • Critical Hit: On twenty-sided dice, any roll over a 17 in combat can deal extra damage and/or have additional effects (such as knocking the target down), and 19 plus on any other task can have additional beneficial effects (such as an artifact works as if it were a level higher for a short time). Interestingly, the GM never rolls dice, so players are fairly safe from these.
  • Citadel City: There are still fully functional satellites orbiting the Earth, only reachable by means of teleportation or space flight. Because of the Schizo Tech setting, a satellite sitting in orbit is functionally a nigh-impregnable fortress. In the short story "The Amber Monolith", the main character Calaval explicitly thinks of a satellite as a citadel.
  • Clarke's Third Law: The setting runs on this. The Ninth World is filled to the brim with lost technology that for most intents and purposes can be considered magical. Word of God states that the setting was conceived with the Third Law as its basis.
  • Cosmic Horror: Ubiquitous enough that a Glimmer (supplement) called "In Strange Aeons" has all to do with working Lovecraftian ideas and creations into the setting.
  • Cool Airship: Soarcraft, biomechanical creatures that fly via naturally-produced sacs of lighter-than-air gas, are used in the kingdom of Corao to travel huge distances quickly and safely.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Aian saying 'Those not rich are poor' is used to justify avarice and ruthless business practices. If you don’t fight to get all you can, you'll have nothing.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: The mlox (robotic brains wearing human bodies) can open a third mechanical eye in their foreheads to gain access to sensory and movement abilities. Generally they don't because they're terrified of people finding out what they are.
  • Cyborg: Everywhere. A few major NPCs have cybernetic parts, and a couple are essentially just brains-with-life-support in metal shells. The character focus "Fuses Flesh and Steel" allows players to be subtly biomechanical or openly cybernetic, and grants significant boosts to the character's Might and Speed, along with innate Armor. Cyborgs require regular repairs and maintenance however; unlike normal characters, they cannot rely on Recovery rolls alone. And then there are the Decanted, who are cryogenically frozen heads walking around in robotic bodies.
  • Damage Discrimination: When the Aeon Priests in Ishlav fiddled with a numenera device in an attempt to understand it, the device released a powerful burst of energy that destroyed most nonliving matter within a radius of 3 kilometres. None of the soil, people, animals or plants were harmed.
  • Damage Reduction: How all Armor works. To be more specific, your Armor rating is subtracted from incoming Might-based damage. Any damage that runs over your Armor rating applies as normal. Armor doesn't apply against certain environmental effects, psionic effects that deal Intellect damage, and so on.
  • Deface of the Moon: Earth's moon is smaller-looking than it would be in our time, thanks to having a wider orbit (with corresponding effects on day length), and sometimes a wide green band can be seen around its equator. The comic "So Long as You Can See the Moon" shows it in three pieces hanging together in complete defiance of physical laws.
  • Dragon Rider: The Angulan Knights ride xi-drakes, winged dragon-like reptiles. Xi-drakes are themselves intelligent creatures, and willingly serve the knights as steeds due to a pact between the two groups.
  • Dual Wielding: A full build focus, "Wields Two Weapons at Once". Only for melee combatants, though.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy: The Ninth World setting is based around this concept. Growing up among the ruins of the previous eight great civilizations, the Ninth Worlders seek out their secrets (by crawling through said ruins) to build their own great civilization, piece by piece.
  • Dying Town: Thriest is lined with many crumbling, abandoned buildings, and only about half the number of the former population continue to dwell there. The city struggles to keep from collapsing and the folk of the regions around Thriest fight just to survive.
  • Dyson Sphere: The Swarmstar from Into The Night is an organic one, consisting of hundreds of millions of creatures surrounding a star.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Mercury's gone, and has been for so long that no Ninth Worlder knows there was ever a planet between Venus and the Sun.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The extradimensional Thread that has been creating all those pesky Nibovians.
  • Enfant Terrible: A Nibovian child will end up taking over their caretaker's entire life, eventually using their dead body to create another Nibovian child.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: There's an underwater octopoid kingdom on the western edge of the current megacontinent. It is an extremely old kingdom, at that. One that apparently remembers a prior incarnation of humanity;
    Many believe that the octopi bear little affection for humans. Hundreds of years ago, when the first human encountered them and was able to establish some kind of communication (thanks to a numenera device), the only response he got from the octopus was an enigmatic, “Oh. You’re back.”
  • Expy: Given their all-concealing attire, their advanced technology, their penchant for invoking Vagueness Is Coming, and their sheer mysteriousness, the philethis are clearly copies of the Vorlons from Babylon 5.
  • Eye Scream: The flying creatures who serve the Man of the Mountain living in the Black Riage near Thaemor especially like eyeballs and will not hesitate to attempt to take one from someone who’s still using it.
  • Fantastic Metals: Azure steel, which can be cut off from an ancient structure beneath the mining town of Omar in Ghan, is highly sought for its durability and strength.
  • Fantastic Racism: The degree varies heavily from place to place, but generally speaking most settlements are uncomfortable, if not outright violent, towards obvious cyborgs (nanomachines and subtler effects are fine), mutants (abhumans are shot on sight for very good reason), and "visitants" (beings of extraterrestrial derivation who have lived on Earth for so many generations that they are effectively native now). The Angulan Knights and many others, are outright genocidal towards mutants, regardless of whether the mutants in question have actually, you know, ever done anything wrong, and pure robots actually live in their own little town, the Weal of Baz, where they have a broad array of attitudes towards non-machine life, ranging from tolerance to resentment to outright violence.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Through a lens of Science Fantasy, but definitely in force.
  • The Federation: Milave is a loose confederation of small noble states and even a few so-called republics, loosely united by the fear of an invasion from the Pytharon Empire. Ostensibly, Milave is ruled by a council of representatives of disparate governments, clans and factions.
  • Feudal Future: The Steadfast, a collection of kingdoms that only share a religion between them.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Glaive, Nano, Jack. Played with, since a Jack or Glaive can be a Red Mage or Magic Knight by picking the right descriptors and focus, and Nanos can subvert Squishy Wizard and be decent in combat.
  • Fish People:
    • The Joirans, a species of tall humanoids with grey skin, a large crest on their head, a pair of fins down their sides and the ability to breathe both air and water, although they're best suited for living very deep in the ocean.
    • The inhabitants of the submarine city of Ahmas are descended from humans melded with various sea creatures by ancient captors, and are very prone to mutation besides. As a result, they resemble a very varied and mixed take on this trope, with each having a humanoid frame with scales, fins, gills, tails, heads, tentacles, legs or pincers from sharks, bony fish, arthropods, cephalopods and other sea life, no two looking truly alike.
    • The heeldra are a race of man-eating, aquatic abhumans with scaly skin, fishlike heads, finlike feet and tubes along their spines that secrete copious amounts of mucus, which they use to communicate with each other.
  • Floating Continent: In the Into the Night supplement, self-replicating cities populate the skies of Urvanas (known to us as Venus).
  • Free-Love Future: Some cultures have this attitude, according to the Glimmer "Love & Sex in the Ninth World". One of the more common attitudes (though certainly not universal, humanity being as varied as it is) is that prostitution isn't looked down on or illegal as long as they're doing it willingly.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Many bandits operating in Malevich are veterans of the kingdom's past wars, aged men with few skills outside violence.
  • Fusion Dance: Lady Vount uses the Despoiler, a numenera artifact, to fuse the bodies of men with dangerous river fish.
  • Future Imperfect: The tale of "Jack and the Beanstalk" has been distorted into a legend. A large tower is called the Beanstalk, and the locals have a legend about the giant one day returning to get his revenge on Jack's descendants. Actually, given the literal eons that have passed since modern civilization, finding ANY recognizable fragments of history or culture is suspicious at best and implies there is more going on.
  • Future Primitive: Approximately one billion years in the future, the life of a Ninth World human isn't all that different from the life of a human around the year 1000 AD, and they don't fully understand of the numenera, detritus from the previous worlds.
  • Genius Loci: Nearby residents believe Mount Zanlis to be some kind of living being possessed of great power. Aeon Priests suggest that the mountain's core might be artificial, housing a machine intelligence with the ability to affect reality on a fundamental level.
  • Giant Flyer: Rasters (biomechanical creatures that fly by means of batlike wings and antigravity) and xi-drakes (white, winged and telepathic reptiles that apparently can fly thanks to an organ in their crest). Both are tamable as flying mounts.
  • Grand Theft Me:
    • The Decanted, old frozen human (?) heads in robotic shells, kidnap (or purchase, if they're slaves) humans that are especially fit or attractive. The Decanted "nobility" look like athletic or beautiful humans crowned with a shriveled, frozen head. It doesn't take a genius to figure out where they got those bodies from.
    • Another example is in the Tech Compendium, where a collar can separate someone's head from their body and graft it onto someone else's headless body, as long as it's been dead for no more than an hour. It's exactly as creepy as it sounds.
  • Grey Goo: Out-of-control nanobots are mentioned as a hazard.
    • A Red Goo variant is the Iron Wind, a kind of duststorm that will mutate anything it catches into a writhing monster. Or possibly just tear it apart completely! You can never be sure with the Iron Wind.
    • More generally, nanites have integrated themselves into the ecosystem. They are as common as bacteria or fungi, and most go without any notice.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Weal of Baz is a hidden town for intelligent machines. It's carved out of a cleft in a cliff face, concealed by holograms and on constant guard by sentries. Occasionally, an organic that they deem worthy is given a token that allows them passage into the city, which includes access to their machine smiths and their truly enormous stockpile of spare parts.
  • High Priest: The Amber Pope guides the Order of Truth, an organisation of Aeon Priests.
  • Hive Mind: Many examples exist in the setting, but of particular note are the denizens of an alternate dimension called the Pure. The Pure seem to have undergone The Singularity, and exist as a gestalt consciousness that contains the ego of every intelligent being in their universe. This seems like the grounds for an Assimilation Plot, but the Pure are genuinely nice — they'll invite any dimension-hoppers to join them, but bear no ill will towards those who refuse, often showering them with gifts and wisdom regardless.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Kaldon, previous king of Thaemor, designed and commissioned the Citadel City of Jyrek to keep his wife, eleven sons and four daughters safe from wars so that his legacy might live on. Its most unusual defensive mechanism is the Eyren, a structure that would support up to twenty people for two months, providing food, shelter, recycled air and an escape route. It turned out to be a colossal waste: no war was waged, but when the Eyren caught a virus from Kaldon's youngest daughter, it believed this new thing to be an inherent part of human physiology and spread it to the other children, killing every single one of them after six weeks and leaving Kaldon heirless.
  • Hopeless Suitor: The Vacant Palace was built by an ignorant but well-intentioned suitor who argued that in times of war or other calamity, Queen Armalu should come to Bodrov. He didn't realise how truly committed she was to never leaving her chambers in Empiternal House.
  • Horse of a Different Color:
    • Aneen are bipedal pack animals twice as tall as the average human, used as pack and riding animals and as meat producers.
    • Snow lopers, bipedal mammals native to high altitudes, are thought to have been created as steeds capable of navigating cold, mountainous environments. While they are easily tamed and do make very good steeds, most in the setting's present live in the wild.
    • The priests of the city of Lhauric ride razorcats, huge tiger-like beasts with spikes growing from several parts of their bodies.
    • The cavalry of the Mahal Shards ride reptilian coursers called brehm.
    • A number of flying mounts exist as well, including the biomechanical rasters and the xi-drakes.
    • In an interesting inversion, there's mention in the corebook of a woman riding a strange steed of a kind no one has seen before, which she claims to have unfrozen from an ancient tomb and says is called a "horse".
  • Humans Are Average: All Player Characters are assumed to be human by default, and while playing a non-human grants many useful advantages, it also comes with steeper penalties and prevents using anything else in the Descriptor slot of the character.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: Somewhat justified: not only are the "humans" of the Ninth World heavily modified from what we would consider "human," but there's so many nanomachines and weird science things in the ecosystem that unusual powers are the norm.
  • Hungry Jungle: The Caecilian Jungle, a large star-shaped patch of rainforest at the northern end of the Beyond and home to a great variety of predatory beasts. Its depths are home to ruins and wonders — such as a frog-shaped temple that draws amphibians to it, a miniature city and a garden of carnivorous plants — that draw a steady stream of explorers and expeditions, despite the fact there no one who ever went in has been know to come back out again.
  • Idiot Hero: Characters with the Foolish descriptor. They can actually be quite intelligent when they get down to business, but are prone to rushing into situations without thinking.
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople): The people of the Ninth World know Venus as Urvanas and Mars as Naharrai.
  • Kaiju: Titanothaurs are impossibly huge (over 300 feet/100 meters on average) one-of-a-kind creatures that are usually based on normal-sized fauna and are usually attracted to large, densely-packed cities, which they then proceed to smash. They often have unusual powers in addition to their size and strength, and are rare and devastating enough that most of them get unique names. Oftentimes, the easiest way to kill one is to find another one to fight it.
  • King of Thieves: The bandits in Malevich are unified and organised by Polele, the Bandit King.
  • Klingon Promotion: In the underwater city of Ahmas, whose society is essentially a giant gladiatorial arena, the most expedient way of becoming king is often to fight and kill the previous king, as the current monarch did when he took the throne.
  • The Klutz: Any character with the Clumsy descriptor. Interestingly, the text indicates that Clumsy characters tend to be quite charming.
  • Layered Metropolis: Many of Qi's centralmost sections lie on multiple levels, with decorative bridges and raised walkways connecting the higher levels and bright glowglobes illuminating the lower so that each level is equally lit.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Played straight despite the continents having been joined together into one enormous Pangaea-like supercontinent. The Ninth World Guidebook reveals that the supercontinent is shaped like a four-pointed star, with the Steadfast on the western coast of the southern spur. At least one area, the Lands of the Dawn on the other side of the map, is detailed for anyone looking to subvert the trope.
  • Limited-Use Magical Device: Numenera has the eponymous artifacts left behind by the precursor civilizations. The most common type of numenera, the cyphers, are one-shot items the game encourages you to expend as an Anti-Hoarding measure. Artifacts, on the other hand, are much more durable, although most have the "Depletion" stat, given in standard dice notation, which means that every time you use an artifact, you have to roll those dice and if the result is below the given threshold, the items goes inert and useless.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Played 100% straight, as one would expect from a Monte Cook game. At low ranks, glaives can hack enemies apart up close or far away, while nanos have a number of useful-but-not-incredible support powers and some quasi-magical zaps. At high ranks, glaives are terrors in combat and useless everywhere else, while nano are terrors in combat who can literally move mountains with their minds. Jacks are stuck between the two, with a broader array of skills than either but not access to the raw power of a nano or combat power of a glaive. And while glaives, to be fully effective, have to split their points between two resource pools, which also count as their hit-points, and jacks all three, nanos are free to focus their Edge and extra points only on their Intellect, letting the other pools serve as expendable hit-points and nothing else.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: The Ninth World Bestiary is presented as being an in-unvierse document written by the Pact of Jarash, an organization of naturalists and explorers dedicated to studying and understanding the many strange creatures of the Ninth World, as a compendium of their knowledge and research.
  • Living Statue: The Scarred Monoliths are massive humanoid statues that drift slowly across the sky in an area in central Ghan.
  • Lost Technology: The numenera are the detritus leftovers of the previous eight worlds, and the people's understanding of these resources is crude and incomplete.
  • The Lost Woods:
    • The Westwood, a large forest of redwood trees taking up nearly the entirety of the kingdom of Navarene's western coast. It has a reputation for being infested with dangerous spirits and monstrous beasts, and as such has been completely uninhabited for most of its history. Recently, Navarene has begun settling it and building towns and roads within it, which has brought it in conflict with the spider-like culovas that live within it and viciously ward off trespassers.
    • The Ba-Adenu Forest is an enormous wilderness in the Beyond, large enough to be divided in three distinct biomes — dry forest, jungle and muddy swampland. It is inhabited by jiraskars (ferocious, predatory theropod dinosaurs) and a mysterious vampiric humanoid.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: A core mechanic. Characters can spend points from their pools before rolling to make rolls more easily, and XP can be used to reroll critical die rolls as well as to level-up.
  • Made of Phlebotinum: Anything more advanced that the things available to a medieval peasant.
  • The Mafia: The Marish Clan a large, family-based criminal organisation that runs much of the illegal activity in Qi. These transgressions consist mainly of robbery, smuggling and dealing in stolen goods, but murder by contract is also included. The Marish Clan is filled with some of the city's most dangerous individuals.
  • Mage Tower: Zigzagged with the Aulifex, who refers to himself as a sorcerer, but his powers come from his tower, a numenera device whose enough secrets were mastered by the Aulifex.
  • Man Bites Man: Captain Jamson Connell goes berserk when physically or verbally threatened, attempting to strangle and eat his opponent (often at the same time).
  • Matter Replicator:
    • The odlarks have access to organic versions, called grup vats. Anything made by them is perfectly functional, albeit slightly translucent and smelling of ale.
    • Castle Sarrat has devices that could create edible food for hundreds of people at a time and can spontaneously grow walls, floors, support structures and more.
  • Mayor Pain: Marvyr Rann, mayor of Qi, is a madman surrounded at all times by a cadre of nearly naked young men and women who attend to his every capricious whim. Fortunately for Qi, the city virtually runs itself, and the Amber Pope can accomplish what needs to be done.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Oorgolian soldiers. Like every advanced piece of tech in the Ninth World, their creators are long gone and their objectives are all but incomprehensible.
  • Medieval Stasis: Enforced by the Inconae in the Gloaming.
  • Merchant Prince: When the royal line died out, power in Draolis was seized by a council of wealthy plutocrats who didn't want another hereditary monarchy to take control.
  • The Minion Master: A character who chooses Leads or Controls Beasts for their focus will have a small army of critters or NPCs following them around at high tier.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Broken hounds resemble emaciated dogs with birdlike heads.
  • Mordor: The nation of Vralk. A volcanically active nation whose people are warlike and authoritarian in the extreme, practice a religion focused around The Power of Blood and Human Sacrifice, and who are planning an invasion of the Steadfast, who have no idea they exist and are focused on the non-existent threat of the Gaians.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: They're prettier than most, but given their status as living extradimensional portals, Nibovian wives are this.
  • Moving Buildings: The Crowd City is a mass of millions of preserved corpses fused and sculpted into the shape of a city. Animated by a mysterious force, buildings change shape and size, and the entire city moves across the landscape.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: No one has ever opened the smooth synth hatch that would provide entrance to the head of the Fourth Mark. No explosive, destructive ray or cutting tool has so much as left a mark.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The sailors of the Ghan merchant fleet are often called Sternmen, but most of them are female.
    • One of the three main citadels of the Convergence, the Empty Sanctum is not empty at all, despite its name.
  • Noob Cave: The corebook contains three ready-made adventures, including one for first-tier characters called The Beale of Boregal, which is explicitly recommended for new players starting a campaign.
  • North Is Cold, South Is Hot: Inverted. Matheunis, the Cold Desert, is located in the southern part of the game map, and things like the Caecilian Jungle are located closer to the northern edge, with the implication being that the setting is in the Earth's southern hemisphere.
  • Not the Intended Use: Quite a few numenera were intended for other purposes than the inhabitants of the Ninth World put them to. Examples include an explosive which was once a vehicle's power plant and a personal energy shield that was once reactor shielding.
  • Older Than They Look: Sallian Orsay appears to be about 20 years old and has appeared to be that age for as long as anyone can remember.
  • Ontological Mystery: One billion years into the future, nothing on the Earth is even remotely recognizable to people from today. The one exception are humans, which are still practically unchanged. However, the game hints that humans have not been around the whole time and somehow remained unaffected by evolution, but actually only reappeared a few thousand or million years ago. Given the premise of the game, there most certainly isn't any official answer to this mystery.
  • The Order: The Angulan Knights, which are dedicated to protecting humanity as a whole, unattached to any government or religion. Many believe they're the militant arm of the Order of Truth, but the Knights only have the Order's blessing to carry out justice, rather than anything more official. They routinely train xi-drakes as flying mounts.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Xi-drakes resemble a white take on a classic wyvern, with two wings, two legs, a long tail and a large crest on their heads. This crest also contains an organ that helps them fly, but no one is really sure how it works. They are intelligent and can read minds, and are extremely long-lived.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Blue-skinned mandibled abhumans addicted to increasingly-difficult murders, white-skinned humanoids with no eyes and far too many mouths, flying snakes made of electricity, purple tetrahedrons that refuse to shut up or understand that people might not be interested in playing...
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Everything you need to know about Margr in five words: goat-men with orcish souls.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: For some reason, some technological strangeness creates what can only be called a bog-standard fantasy horror werewolf. Because... technology.
  • Panthera Awesome: The Sarrak, which appears to be a panther with a sphere of energy for a head and mind control abilities.
  • Planetary Romance: Quite possible as of the supplement Into the Night.
  • Police Brutality: The Thyrn, guards of the city Stirthal, are harsh, violent and oppressive. They wield two swords, one inscribed with the word JUSTICE and the other MERCY; a common joke in Stirthal is that they use the first blade incorrectly and the second rarely, if ever.
  • Polluted Wasteland: All that remains of the Island of the Last Migration, formerly a paradise of extraordinary splendour, are the remnants of a collapsed society: crumbling, overgrown buildings, empty cities and rusted machines.
  • Power Crystal: Ever-growing crystalline shards slowly drift high above the Cloudcrystal Fields. Some so-called sorcerers and priests contend that the crystals are the perfect foci for magical power, oracles supposedly watch the future here, and gods speak to mortals more clearly and more often.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Mentioned in Love & Sex in the Ninth World, mentioning how pieces of numenera have been put to... other uses. Specifically mentioning the friction-reducing gel, gravity nullifiers and magnetic masters from the core book, though leaving their uses to the reader's imagination.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Millions upon millions of years have passed without maintenance, and all the insane supertech still works.
  • Razor Floss: Steel spiders can spin entire webs of it. Useful, if you can keep yourself from being shredded on it.
  • Raised by Wolves: Adopting the "Bazian" descriptor from the Character Options supplement means your character comes from the Weal of Baz, where the machines live. You gain several machine-like attributes and working with machines and machine intelligences becomes one step easier, but communicating with organic lifeforms becomes one step harder.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: The Amorphous Fields, a section of the Beyond where the ground itself continually shifts and flows around a structure known as the Twisted Spire.
  • Recursive Precursors: The Ninth World is built on the bones of the previous eight, and in particular the last four. Each former world stretched across millennia and played host to a species whose civilisations rose to supremacy before vanishing.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Nibovian companions are absolutely adorable balls of fluff that resemble big-eyed Tribbles... that attempt to turn anyone that adopts them into a life battery to sustain them.
  • Ridiculously Difficult Route: The Umbil has become a place for dark dwellers, thieves and worse. Although it remains the shortest passage between Jargolamis and Luigolamis, it's also the one most likely to get you killed. The abhuman slaves have regained their freedom, the markets dark wares and dangerous creatures skulk around every bend.
  • Scavenger World: Much of the gameplay is about collecting tech from the previous ages, the titular Numenera. This can be anything from curios which glow green to Deflector Shields that shoot lightning at the enemy.
  • Schmuck Bait: Though the origins of the term have never been fully revealed, anything described as "Nibovian" falls under the "too good to be true" category of this. It appears to be good and useful, right up until it does something horrible to you.
  • Science Fantasy: The game is inspired by works like Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. The setting, called by its inhabitants the Ninth World, mixes a society with medieval technology with technological artifacts left behind by the previous civilizations that have risen and fallen over the previous billion years. While Monte has said that he is grounding the game firmly in science (or at least science fiction), he has cited Clarke's Third Law to explain the presence of things that would otherwise be at home in a fantasy setting such as "wizards" (Nanos, whose powers are derived from cybernetic implants, extradimensional aliens, or other non-supernatural sources), "gods" (alien entities or ancient AIs), and floating cities (kept aloft by some sort of anti-gravity or repulsor tech).
  • Schizo Tech: The civilizations in the game are roughly medieval but are surrounded by advanced technology from Before the End. This can even exist within the one character — one of the three options for the source of a player-character's skill and talent is cybernetic augmentation. Meaning you could have a glaive who goes to town with a big battleaxe but where most of his talent comes from a variety of implants, either obvious stuff like mechanical limbs or subtle ones like nanites in the bloodstream to better conduct oxygen and regulate other biochemicals.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Lampshaded in the Bestiary entry for the neveri.
    "In fanciful tales, it's not uncommon to find incredibly powerful Evil Things, secured by Ancient Powers in a forgotten prison. But why? Why didn't those Ancient Powers simply destroy the Evil Thing? Many possibilities suggest themselves, but the plainest answer may be right: because the Evil Thing would not die."
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Gaians, a secretive and mysterious cult believed to control the lands north of the Steadfast. Subverted as of the Ninth World Guidebook. Not only are the Gaians a society of peaceful animists, they have no idea the Steadfast even exists, let alone is planning a crusade against them.
  • Secret Police:
    • Argust Provani, the ruler of Shallamas, employs an elite group of secretive operatives called the Shadowlings, who infiltrate criminal organisations and destroy them from within.
    • The Masked Legion of Iscobal operates in the shadows of Mulen, opposing the Sarromere family's covert attempts to undermine the royal family.
  • Shock and Awe: Anyone who takes the Rides the Lightning character focus gets the ability to shock people with their touch, hurl lightning bolts around, the ability to fly and teleport using electricity, and a big sack of batteries.
  • Sibling Team: A pair of sisters named Gaera and Funae work as master thieves, one posing as a noblewoman and the other as her servant. They use this ruse to gain access to any location, steal wealth and numenera, murder victims and take their spines.
  • Space Elevator: It's implied that the Beanstalk, a massive metal and glass tower in the northern section of the Beyond, was once one of these. As of the Into the Night supplement, this is confirmed, and there is a way to ascend and find a viable spaceship at its terminus.
  • Spawn Broodling: The poisonous trunked lily flowers quickly kill any creatures that eat them; once the host is dead, the flowers cocoon inside the body until they're ready to sprout.
  • Spider People: Culovas, which resemble giant spiders with a humanoid torso, arms ending in clawed fingers, almost no neck and a head with multiple spider-like eyes and a mouth full of sharp teeth. They aren't abhumans, but they're still getting into conflicts with the locals over territory and resources.
  • Spider Tank: The dread destroyers are living versions of these, possessing brains and organs inside a self-repairing metal hull. They're sufficiently well-armed to be able to take out cities by themselves, can scale vertical surfaces, and move very fast in the water.
  • Split Personality:
    • Lattimors have this as a basic fact of their existence. They're a symbiotic combination of a bursk (big, bulky, unintelligent bipeds) and a neem (a sort of sentient lichen that grows on their backs). They can switch between the bursk or neem personality to use the advantages of each mentality, or join together to counter the weaknesses of both.
    • Holiva the First spends his waking hours talking with his own hand in the form of a shadow puppet.
  • Starfish Aliens: Some of the weirder creatures, like the travonis ul (a mass of tentacles with bulbous yellow eyes in the middle of each) and the erynth grask (wormlike sapients with four tentacles around its mouth and eight arms) are almost certainly extraterrestrial if not extradimensional. Also literal with the Ulagra, alien starfish hundreds of feet wide, who reside on a sunless rogue planet, and can occasionally host psychic transference phenomenon.
  • Street Urchin: Kaparin's street rats were born at sea and then left behind. They live in small groups beneath the docks and often create graffiti on the sides of docked submergines, searching for or cursing their parents.
  • Superstitious Sailors: A tradition of the Ghan merchant fleet is to never leave dock with more men than women aboard. To do so is considered bad luck.
  • Talking Animal: Along the coast of the Sea of Secrets, every once in a while, an impressively large fish breaks the surface near a small boat and attempts to engage the occupants in a conversation in perfect Truth.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Weaponized memes are ideas that, once learned, slowly drive all who know them insane and subsequently drive them to suicide.
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: The people of Qi often travel by fantastically huge helium or hot air balloons and dirigibles, leading to the common saying 'half of Qi is in the sky'.
  • Threatening Shark: Jybrils are sea monsters resembling titanic, monstrous sharks with three eyes in a row on each side of their heads. They will attack and eat anything they come across — humanoids, fish, other sea monsters, machines... — with the nanites living symbiotically in their tissues allowing them to digest all of it.
  • Three-Stat System: Might, Speed, and Intellect, which are simultaneously resource pools for three types of ability checks and the game's Multiple Life Bars. They can also be mapped to the game's three classes, glaive, nano, and jack.
  • Time Abyss:
    • The game is set a solid billion years into the future, in a world filled to the brim with the ruins and artifacts of bygone civilizations that have been waiting derelict in the wilderness for anywhere from hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of years. Depending on when specific tombs, installations or pieces of numenera was actually made, many likely predate the formation of the setting's supercontinent, having been carried to their current locations as they were rafted around by tectonic drift over millions of years.
    • More specifically, the octopi are an extremely ancient species, old enough to have seen at least some of the great ancient civilizations rise, flourish and either die out or leave. This is part of the reason they do not interact much with other species — from their perspective, none ever last long enough for any meaningful interaction to occur. This also applies to individual octopi; they managed to make themselves ageless long in the past, and many octopi are thus very old indeed; their current queen, for instance, is over a million years old.
  • Time Travel: Rarrow was built on both sides of a spatial rift, with the portion on the other side of the rift being called Hidden Rarrow. Since Hidden Rarrow seems to have a similar sun, but the moon never appears and the stars are similar but not identical, it's believed that the rift is temporal instead of spatial, and Hidden Rarrow lies some time in the future.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The titular Numenera. The Anti-Hoarding mechanics means that, sooner or later, they will be used and a replacement given soon after, but the fact they are are (mostly) one-shot effects means that beginning players will obviously be reluctant to part with them.
  • To Serve Man: The uraeyl, from the Ninth World Guidebook, are all but incapable of seeing humans as anything but sources of labor and meat. They keep herds of "domesticated" (read: bestial) humans.
  • Town with a Dark Secret:
    • Queslin is a town on the Sere Marica that posts flyers advertising for workers throughout the Beyond. It's got the prettiest houses you'll ever lay eyes on, friendly and generous merchants, and a breathtaking view of the inland sea. None of which you'll ever see if you take a job there, since you'll be dragged into the salt mines, tied down, and force-fed saltfeed so that the leeches that will feed from your body will become savory enough for Queslin's masters to sell as snacks to nobles around the world. It's VAGUELY possible you'll survive, in which case you do get the promised rewards. It almost certainly won't have been worth it.
    • The Gloaming works as a slaughterhouse for the Inconae, who manipulated its makers into creating it and filling it with prey. Luckily, it seems that said makers suspected something and they also created the Cypher-like Archadian motes, which also work as a Kryptonite Factor against the Inconae, in order to make the Gloaming's inhabitants' lives easier.
    • The Into the Deep supplement describes another, Lampshaded example of the abovementioned trope: the "beautiful city with a dark secret" Onisteles. Said secret also involves people being eaten.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Carrying too many cyphers will kill you. Exactly how they will kill you is abstracted because there are so many different kinds of technology, and nobody knows enough science to determine the root causes for certain. A numenera could kill you with nuclear radiation, unchecked nanotech, psychic interference, alien laws of physics, or something as simple as lead-based paint.
  • Translator Microbes: The All-Speech automatically translates any word spoken within the city of Orrila and a fair distance beyond into a language understandable to each listener.
  • Tube Travel: A network of huge ceramic pipes run through Uxphon and are used as thoroughfares by residents.
  • Turtle Island: The granthu, a titanic crustacean that lives deep beneath the sea to the west of the main setting. It's big enough that a good-sized city, Joira, has been built on, in and beneath its carapace. The Fish People who inhabit it, who speak about the granthu like humans speak about the Earth, are firmly of the belief that the beast is not unique, and that there are more out there bearing their own cities on their backs.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Jiraskars are T. rex-like creatures whose dim senses are augmented by their inborn ability to tap into the internet. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • Uncanny Valley: Proxima, from the Ninth World Guidebook, are unusually healthy people born to normal humans who have something off about their looks that's hard to put one's finger on. They're described in-world as looking like a sculpture of a human by a skilled non-human artist: all the details are there and correct, but the essential human-ness of their appearance is missing.
  • Underwater City: Several, some in fairly shallow parts of the sea and some in the blackest depths. Their inhabitants collectively refer to these places as oceia.
    • Joria is a city built on the back of an enormous crustacean called a granthu, which moves in a roughly constant orbit around the ocean floor. The city is partly open to water, and inhabited by a species of amphibious humanoids called Jorians. The Jorians believe that there are other cities of their kind on the backs of other granthus, following their own orbits somewhere in the global ocean, and put in a great deal of time and effort in searching for them.
    • The City of Rust is a large settlement on top of a massive slab resting on the ocean floor, which gets its name from the rust-red metal making up its buildings. It's mostly inhabited by a species of aquatic aliens called the skeane, and watched over by four massive and fickle AIs that its inhabitants worship as gods.
    • Ahmas is a city in the darkest depths of the ocean, home to the descendants of humans who were transformed into monstrous Fish People by mysterious entities centuries in the past.
    • Minifera, located even deeper than Ahmas, is lit by tiny, bioluminescent swimming creatures. It's home to the naiadans, an aquatic race whose individuals are made up of thousands of tiny creatures called dyremmi.
    • Morenel is a city on the abyssal plain inexplicably inhabited by humans, who have been living there longer than any surface-based human civilization has been around.
    • Onisteles is a colossal sea sponge that was colonized by an aquatic race called the glanae. The skin flakes the glanae shed feed the sponge, which in turn provides them with a home in a symbiotic relationship. What the glanae don't know is that Onisteles is in a similar relationship with a species of predatory animals called ebons, where the predators protect the city from certain sponge-eating slugs… in exchange for Onisteles occasionally spitting out glanae to feed the ebons.
  • The Usurper: Rabbar tiKalloban seized the throne of Iscobal about forty years ago from Queen Whenith Sarromere, whom most believed unfit to rule.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The Angulan Knights, for all the good they do, are profoundly uncomfortable with "visitants" (the non-human, non-hostile inhabitants of the Ninth World) and absolutely vicious in their attempts to wipe out all mutants, whether or not the mutants in question are actually doing anything wrong.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Pytharon Empire, which once ruled much of the southern Steadfast and almost completely collapsed a hundred years before the game's timeframe, but was brought Back from the Brink by Empress Challadien II and is looking to expand once again.
  • Virtual Ghost: The southern coast of Ghan is said to be haunted by ghosts, which are actually the intellects and memories of people from the distant past that were loaded into storage that uses smart fluid housing.
  • Was Once a Man: Abhumans are once-human creatures that rejected humanity to become bestial, murderous, and degenerate. In other words, they or their forebears chose to be abhuman.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The ruling council of Milave does little but bicker over petty matters while the Pytharon Empire grows in military might. If war does come, this loose union is likely to collapse, each state fighting for itself and no other.
  • Wild Wilderness: The Beyond. Far less settled than the Steadfast, with fewer roads and paths and vast stretches of wilderness between population centers.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Thaemor was once part of a three-way war between Navarene, Draolis and Malevich until claimed as a kingdom by Goldguard Landon, a fearsome warrior who knew everything about how to defend a region from multiple enemies but absolutely nothing about running a kingdom himself. Under his rule, Thaemor's borders were always well protected, but its residents and places within were not.
  • The Worm That Walks: Naiadans are a species of beings whose bodies are entirely composed of thousands of tiny creatures called dyremmi, all acting together to form a larger individual being. There are also naiadapts, the descendants of humans who modified themselves or who were modified to have colonies of dyremmi living in their bodies and acting as extensions of their beings. Both naiadans and naiadapts have the ability to alter their bodies and abilities by simply removing some of the dyremmi currently making them up and exchanging them for new ones carrying a desired trait, altering themselves by manipulating the balance of their component creatures. "Wild" dyremmi also exist, some of which are reported to have developed individual intelligence and see the naiadans and naiadapts as horrific conglomerations that must be destroyed to free their "enslaved" dyremmi.

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