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Numenera Logo.png
Numenera Logo
Designer(s)Monte Cook
Publisher(s)Monte Cook Games
Publication date2013
Genre(s)Science Fantasy
System(s)Cypher System
Playing timeVaries
Random chanceDice rolling
Skill(s) requiredRole-playing, improvisation

Numenera is an award-winning[1] science fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) set in the far distant future, written by Monte Cook.[2][3][4] It has been translated into Italian,[5] German,[6] Spanish, French and Portuguese.[7]



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.[8]

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.[9]


The name "Numenera" is a reference to the bits of technology left over from past civilizations. The word "numen" is a Latin root word meaning a "pervading divine presence"[10] 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",[11] the setting treats technology with much the same approach as magic in a fantasy setting. The native tech level is roughly medieval.[12]


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,[13] surpassing the previous record set by the Kickstarter for Traveller 5th edition.[14] Originally intended just to fund the initial Core rulebook, the campaign more than doubled its fund goal within the first 24 hours.[15] "Stretch-goals" that were announced as the level of funding grew increased the output of products, ending up producing an entire game line.[16]

Numenera 2[edit]

Numenera 2 is a revision of the original game to increase emphasis on exploration, discovery, and building. It also incorporated a few revisions from the Cypher rule system that had been released subsequent to the original Numenera release. Numenera 2 also used a Kickstarter campaign for initial funding obtaining $845,258 from 4,185 backers. The campaign ran in Fall of 2017 with first deliverables scheduled for Summer of 2018. Numenera 2 has two core rule books titled, Numenera: Discovery and Numenera: Destiny.

Discovery is essentially a revision of the original Numenera core book. The Jack character type was substantially revised to be more distinctive compared to Nanos and Glaives. Also added are player intrusions, a mechanism allowing players to alter the environment by spending an experience point. Destiny is nearly completely new material offering three new character types: Arkus, Delve, and Wright, new descriptors and new foci. The book also emphasizes crafting along with community protection and development with these character types taking lead positions in such an endeavor. A major section on crafting mechanisms and a major section on communities are provided. The manner of running a community game can be described as treating the community as an NPC in the game with stats that the player characters enhance. New monsters, NPCs, and settings are also offered in the Destiny core book.

As part of the Numenera 2 Kickstarter campaign several other supplemental materials are scheduled for production. As of July, 2018 only the Numenera 2 core books had been released in PDF format for Kickstarter backers.


Core books[edit]

Title Authors Date Pages Formats ISBN
Numenera CorebookMonte CookAugust 14, 2013416Print, Deluxe, PDFISBN 978-1-939979-00-1
The main rulebook for the game 
Numenera: Discovery CorebookMonte Cook, Bruce Cordell, & Sean K. ReynoldsJuly, 2018416PDF (print TBD)
The main rulebook for the game, revised 
Numenera: Destiny CorebookMonte Cook, Bruce Cordell, & Sean K. ReynoldsJuly, 2018416PDF (print TBD)
The auxiliary main rulebook for the game 
Numenera Player's GuideMonte CookAugust 14, 201364Print, PDFISBN 978-1-939979-01-8
Book focused on the player characters; subset of content from the Corebook 
The Ninth World BestiaryMonte Cook & Bruce CordellFebruary 2014160Print, PDFISBN 978-1-939979-09-4
A collection of Numenera creatures 
Numenera Character OptionsMonte CookMay 201496Print, PDFISBN 978-1-939979-14-8
A collection of more descriptors and foci 
Technology Compendium: Sir Arthour's Guide to the NumeneraMonte CookAugust 2014160Print, PDFISBN 978-1-939979-20-9
A collection of Numenera cyphers, oddities and artifacts 
The Ninth World GuidebookMonte Cook & Shanna GermainJanuary 2015256Print, PDFISBN 978-1-939979-24-7
A setting book about the Ninth World, its locations and denizens 
Numenera Character Options 2Monte Cook & Bruce CordellSeptember 201696Print, PDFISBN 978-1-939979-55-1
A collection introducing two new character types as well as more descriptors and foci 

Adventures and Glimmers[edit]

Glimmers are short, PDF-only publications. There are also some adventure collections that have appeared in print:

Title Authors Date Pages Formats ISBN
The Devil's SpineMonte CookOctober 201396Print, PDFISBN 9781939979025
Three 32 page adventures, "The Devil's Spine", "The Mechanized Tomb", "The Other Side of the Maelstrom" 
Weird Discoveries: Ten Instant Adventures for NumeneraMonte CookApril 201596Print, PDF
Ten fully developed adventures that can be run with little preparation time. 
The Nightmare SwitchMonte CookAugust 14, 201332PDF Only
A Kickstarter exclusive adventure 
VortexMonte CookSeptember 4, 201318PDF Only
The Numenera launch adventure at Gen Con 2013. 

Game aids[edit]

Title Date Pages Formats
Numenera GM ScreenAugust 14, 2013N/APrint, PDF
Four-panel, landscape format vinyl GM's screen 
Numenera XP Card DeckAugust 14, 201330 cardsPrint, PDF
Cards representing a character's XP points 
Numenera Cypher Card DeckAugust 14, 2013120 cardsPrint, PDF
Cards representing cypher Numenera available in game 
Numenera Cypher Card Deck 22014120 cardsPrint, PDF
Cards representing cypher Numenera available in game 
Numenera Creature Card DeckFebruary 2014100 cardsPrint, PDF
Cards representing Numenera creatures 
Numenera Cypher Chest2014250 cardsPrint
Contains the XP, Cypher and Creature decks. 
Numenera Character Sheets2014104 (print)Print, PDF
Blank character sheets and a character generation walkthrough. 


Title Authors Date Pages Formats ISBN
The Amber MonolithMonte CookAugust 201218PDF Only
Introductory short story to the Numenera setting; included within the Corebook 
Tales from the Ninth WorldMonte CookJune 201379epub, mobi, PDF
Collection of short stories set in the Numenera setting 
The Poison EaterShanna GermainJanuary 2017320epub, mobi, printISBN 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:[1]

  • 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. ^ a b "Official award list".
  2. ^ Webb, Travis. (4 May 2013). " Kickstarted; "Crowdfunding" continues to change face of gaming". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Nerdluster: Numenera RPG Kickstarter". 14 August 2012. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Tech2: Monte Cook GenCon Panel". 19 August 2013. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Announcing the Numenera box set".
  6. ^ "Crowdfunding campaign for German translation of the corebook".
  7. ^ "Crowdfunding campaign for Brazilian Portuguese translation of the corebook".
  8. ^ "Transmissions from the Ninth World:A Billion Years in the Future!". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Transmissions from the Ninth World:Creative Characters!". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "The Sorcerer of Rhiannon", Astounding February 1942, p. 39.
  12. ^ "Transmissions from the Ninth World:Eponymous". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Kickstarter "Discover / Games / Most Funded"". Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  15. ^ "KickTraq: Numenera Pledges & Backers by Day".
  16. ^ "Rich Howard: Numenera".
  17. ^ "Thunderstone Numenera: Two Games Enter, One Game Leaves". Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  18. ^ "Kickstarter: Torment:Tides of Numenera".
  19. ^ "Reaper Miniatures: Numenera". Retrieved 15 December 2013.

External links[edit]