The Setting Behind Numenera

"The world moved on millions of years ago. It's greatness faded far before our grandfather's grandfather's ancestors were even a statistical possibility…"

Welcome to the Ninth World

The world you know… the world of the 20th century, is long dead and gone. It's not even a glimmer, not even a memory. That was the First World, and that civilization rose and fell billions of years ago.

Consider that for a moment. Billions of years, at least. Multiple billions.

In that time, another seven great civilizations rose and fell. Most were human, or at least something resembling human. Some were alien. At least one didn't even originate in this dimension. Some reached out to and dominated the stars themselves. Others mastered and rewrote the very laws of physics and reality.

Each rose from their humble beginnings to depart this wretched little rock, leaving their broken and discarded toys behind, leaving a world behind that we in the 20th century would never recognize.

Our players are the children of the Ninth World. Compared to the civilizations before them, they've barely even crawled out of their caves. Insofar as innovation and invention are concerned, they are stuck in their equivalent of our Bronze Age… they fight not with guns and lasers, spaceships and bombs, but with swords and staves, magic and bows.

But they are also different from us, in that the eight worlds before them left behind their toys. Cyphers and Artifacts and Oddities that somehow still work, even if no one really knows how, works of technology so great that to the common man they are as magic. They have adapted their world to include these… so their swords may be metal, or pure energy, or flame. Their bows may shoot arrows, or bolts of plasma or ice. They may manipulate the nanites that permeate every aspect of their environment to sling 'spells', to manipulate the forces of reality.

These humans, these mutants, these aliens and extradimensional visitants who populate a globe that by all rights should no longer exist — they are slowly trying to harness the powers their parents left behind… and you are one of them.

Are you a glaive, a warrior who specializes in the martial arts? Are you a nano, tapping into the network of microscopic machines around you to control reality itself? Or are you a roguish jack of all trades, charming your way through the world? Perhaps you're an inquisitive Seeker, a delver of depths no sane adventurer would dare to? Mayhap you're a manipulative glint, inspiring others and the world around you. Whatever you are, you are one of the revered heroes who go out into our world to find more of the secrets of the ancients… selling them to the highest bidder, perhaps, or helping the Order of Truth increase its knowledge of the Before.

You are a hero. A villain. A mercenary. A god.


Now… from the above, you may get the impression this this is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world where everything has fallen apart.

This is not true. Civilization has risen again, and has been around for nearly 2000 years. There is nobility and vast metropolises, just as there are small, struggling villages and outposts.

Think more human-focused fantasy with elements of high science fiction, a little bit of horror, and a lot of the weird. If Final Fantasy 7 merged with a little bit of Lovecraft, a little bit of Heinlein, with just a pinch of Bronze Age fluff, you'd have a child that was Numenera.

You are the heroes. You're the ones who work for the rich to make them richer, for the poor to bring them up, or for yourself to make a few extra shins. <b>YOU</b> will set the tone of this story.

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