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Numenera Logo.png
Numenera Logo
Designer(s) Monte Cook
Publisher(s) Monte Cook Games
Publication date 2013
Genre(s) Science Fantasy
System(s) Cypher System
Playing time Varies
Random chance Dice rolling
Skill(s) required Role-playing, improvisation

Numenera is an award-winning science fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) set in the far distant future, written by Monte Cook.[1][2][3] It has been translated into Italian,[4] German[5] Spanish and French.



Numenera is set on Earth approximately one billion years in the future. The setting is called "The Ninth World" due to the fact that eight civilizations have risen and fallen prior to the current era.[6]

Character Creation[edit]

Character creation has been simplified by having players fill in the blanks to the statement:

"I am a __________ __________ who _________s."
  1. The first blank, the adjective in the sentence, is filled in by a character's "Descriptor", a way to describe the character's strongest characteristic.
  2. The second blank, the noun of the sentence, is filled in by a character's "Type", which is a "Glaive" (a warrior type), a "Nano" (a technology adept type), or a "Jack" (as in jack-of-all-trades).
  3. The third blank, the verb of the sentence, is filled in by a character's "Focus", or what the character is most known for or their special talent.[7]


The name "Numenera" is a reference to the bits of technology leftover from past civilizations. The word "numen" is a Latin root word meaning a "pervading divine presence"[8] and "era" refers to the period (1 billion years in the future) in which this universe takes place. The world is utterly filled with "nanites" (the divine presence) that some beings in this universe can tap into and control. With a nod towards Clarke's Third Law, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic",[9] the setting treats technology with much the same approach as magic in a fantasy setting. The native tech level is roughly medieval.[10]


The Numenera Team[edit]

Lead Designer: Monte Cook[11]
Lead Artist: Kieran Yanner[11]
Lead Editor: Shanna Germain[11]
Contributing Artists: Scott Purdy, Lee Smith, Patrick McEvoy, Eric Lofgren, Guido Kuip, Matthew Stawicki, Keith Thompson, Jeremy McHugh, Jason Engle[12]
Cartographer: Christopher West[12]


"If you're a fan of outside-of-the-box gameplay such as that found in Planescape, Dark Space, or Chaositech, the far-future stories of Gene Wolfe, Michael Moorcock, or Jack Vance, or mind-blowing visuals like those found in the work of French artist Moebius, you're going to love Numenera." - Monte Cook[13]


Numenera was launched via a Kickstarter campaign, that set a record for "most money raised for a tabletop role-playing game" at $517,255 by 4,658 backers,[14] surpassing the previous record set by the Kickstarter for Traveller 5th edition.[15] Originally intended just to fund the initial Core rulebook, the campaign more than doubled its fund goal within the first 24 hours.[16] "Stretch-goals" that were announced as the level of funding grew increased the output of products, ending up producing an entire game line.[17]


Core Products[edit]

Title Authors Date Pages Formats ISBN
Numenera Corebook Monte Cook August 14, 2013 416 Print, Deluxe, PDF ISBN 9781939979001
The main rulebook for the game 
Numenera Player's Guide Monte Cook August 14, 2013 64 Print, PDF ISBN 9781939979018
Book focused on the player characters; subset of content from the Corebook 
The Ninth World Bestiary Monte Cook & Bruce Cordell February 2014 160 Print, PDF ISBN 9781939979094
A collection of Numenera creatures 
Numenera Character Options Monte Cook May 2014 96 Print, PDF ISBN 9781939979148
A collection of more descriptors and foci 
Technology Compendium: Sir Arthour's Guide to the Numenera Monte Cook August 2014 160 Print, PDF ISBN 9781939979209
A collection of Numenera cyphers, oddities and artifacts 
The Ninth World Guidebook Monte Cook & Shanna Germain January 2015 256 Print, PDF ISBN 9781939979247
A setting book about the Ninth World, its locations and denizens 
Numenera Character Options 2 Monte Cook & Bruce Cordell September 2016 96 Print, PDF ISBN 9781939979551
A collection introducing two new character types as well as more descriptors and foci 

There are also some adventure collections that have appeared in print:

Title Authors Date Pages Formats ISBN
The Devil's Spine Monte Cook October 2013 96 Print, PDF ISBN 9781939979025
Three 32 page adventures, "The Devil's Spine", "The Mechanized Tomb", "The Other Side of the Maelstrom" 
Weird Discoveries: Ten Instant Adventures for Numenera Monte Cook April 2015 96 Print, PDF
Ten fully developed adventures that can be run with little preparation time. 

Adventures & Glimmers[edit]

Glimmers are short, PDF-only publications meant to enrich the game experience.

Title Authors Date Pages Formats ISBN
The Nightmare Switch Monte Cook August 14, 2013 32 PDF Only
A Kickstarter exclusive adventure 

Game Aids[edit]

Title Date Pages Formats
Numenera GM Screen August 14, 2013 N/A Print, PDF
Four-panel, landscape format vinyl GM's screen 
Numenera XP Card Deck August 14, 2013 30 cards Print, PDF
Cards representing a character's XP points 
Numenera Cypher Card Deck August 14, 2013 120 cards Print, PDF
Cards representing cypher Numenera available in game 
Numenera Cypher Card Deck 2 2014 120 cards Print, PDF
Cards representing cypher Numenera available in game 
Numenera Creature Card Deck February 2014 100 cards Print, PDF
Cards representing Numenera creatures 
Numenera Cypher Chest 2014 250 cards Print
Contains the XP, Cypher and Creature decks. 
Numenera Character Sheets 2014 104 (print) Print, PDF
Blank character sheets and a character generation walkthrough. 


Title Authors Date Pages Formats ISBN
The Amber Monolith Monte Cook August 2012 18 PDF Only
Introductory short story to the Numenera setting; included within the Corebook 
Tales from the Ninth World Monte Cook June 2013 79 epub, mobi, PDF
Collection of short stories set in the Numenera setting 
The Poison Eater Shanna Germain January 2017 320 epub, mobi, print ISBN 978-0857666352
The first full-length novel set in the Numenera setting 

Related Products[edit]

There have been several announced tie-ins to the brand:


Awards Numenera products have received include:[22]

  • 2014 ENnie Award SILVER (Best Game: Numenera corebook, Best Interior Art: Numenera corebook, Best Cartography: Numenera corebook, Best Monster or Adversary: The Ninth World Bestiary, Best Podcast: Numenera: The Signal)
  • 2014 ENnie Award GOLD (Product of the Year: Numenera corebook, Best Setting: Numenera corebook, Best Writing: Numenera corebook, Best Production Values: Numenera corebook, Best Aid or Accessory: Numenera Creature Deck)
  • 2014 Origins Award (Best New Roleplaying Game: Numenera)


  1. ^ Webb, Travis. (4 May 2013). " Kickstarted; "Crowdfunding" continues to change face of gaming". Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Nerdluster: Numenera RPG Kickstarter". 14 August 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Tech2: Monte Cook GenCon Panel". 19 August 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Announcing the Numenera box set". 
  5. ^ "Crowdfunding campaign for German translation of the corebook". 
  6. ^ "Transmissions from the Ninth World:A Billion Years in the Future!". Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Transmissions from the Ninth World:Creative Characters!". Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "The Sorcerer of Rhiannon", Astounding February 1942, p. 39.
  10. ^ "Transmissions from the Ninth World:Eponymous". Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c "The Numenera Team". Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Numenera Art Gallery". Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kickstarter "Numenera: A new roleplaying game from Monte Cook"". 8 August 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Kickstarter "Discover / Games / Most Funded"". Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "KickTraq: Numenera Pledges & Backers by Day". 
  17. ^ "Rich Howard: Numenera". 
  18. ^ "Numenera App in Development". 5 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Thunderstone Numenera: Two Games Enter, One Game Leaves". Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "Kickstarter: Torment:Tides of Numenera". 
  21. ^ "Reaper Miniatures: Numenera". Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  22. ^ "Official award list". 

External links[edit]