Crap. I finally picked up the Numenera PDFs through the current Bundle of Holding and obviously the first thing my brain did was try to convert everything to Dungeon World. Please tell me someone’s done this already, right? I can tell my brain to chill out and stop thinking about this? I searched through the community archives, but didn’t see discussion of any conversion. Seems like it should be pretty straightforward, right? Just three playbooks to adapt and the fiction-first nature of DW makes the moves seem much simpler to write, yeah?

47 thoughts on “Crap.”

  1. I’m all for an AW or DW powered Numenera as I was less than impressed with the system. But do you even need to convert anything? Wouldn’t it be more of a reskinning? I mean you could make three new playbooks (Glaive, Nano, and Jack), but couldn’t you play Numenera with “regular” DW?

  2. Sure, if you want, you could probably wing it without much conversion. I was just wondering if anybody had been hacking on any DW/Numenera fusion stuff.

  3. I had exactly the same thought when I played it at a gameday a few months back, but I never rolled up my sleeves. Seems fairly straightforward though. I even started pondering ways to retain a bit of the economy but never put pen to paper. I have a buttload of free time now so let me know if you need a collaborator…

  4. Three play books seems like it would be a little bland. What if you used the adjectives to make a few more?

    Other than that, adapting Dungeon Planet’s Technician operations to the Nano and a few other minor tweaks, and you should be good to go. Make this happen.

  5. Eric Mersmann This is what I was thinking, as I was flipping through the Players’ Guide:

    There’s the three Numenera stats — Might, Speed, Intellect — each of which gets ~2 of the standard DW moves in a simple hack. Might gets Hack/Defend, Speed gets Defy/Volley, Intellect gets Spout/Discern/Parley.

    Skills are like World of Dungeons skills. Having one means you can’t outright fail at a thing, just suffer worse consequences on a 6-. Use the Numenera list, because why not (don’t need anything other than the names).

    Three Numenera playbooks, though not sure about tiers. Maybe you just buy moves with advances like in standard AW and when you buy 3 moves from your current tier, you open up the next tier? So more gradual advancement that Numenera, I guess? Probably need some new Numenera-specific XP conditions, since supposedly the game is supposed to be about exploration and discovery, right? But those should be pretty easy to come up with.

    Descriptors and Foci could be reworded to just be like Specials in World of Dungeons, i.e. a single-line power that you invoke as needed that gives some unique flavor to your character. The “link to starting adventure” stuff in Descriptors is cool, so keep that; same with the crazy “origin of special powers” table for Foci. Tier moves for Foci can probably be purchased once you’ve opened the appropriate tier through spending advances. Or maybe you get the new move automatically when you advance a tier?

    And… that’s basically it? Probably need some random tables to create particularly weird monsters, locations, and ancient technologies, but that doesn’t seem too hard. Really, most of the work is the three playbooks and simplifying all the Descriptor/Foci moves.

    We could hack some stuff slightly deeper if we wanted, like adapting the simplified damage system of Numenera, with fixed damage for certain kinds of weapons (really, that’s just more like Harm in AW, so that’s easy enough, and means less dice-rolling). Or tweaking the GM principles and agendas to emphasize the weird-but-stately post-apoc fantasy of Numenera.


  6. Just got Dungeon Planet off drivethrurpg & seems like a decent base to start with for doing any sci-fi games, just have to really condense down character progression.

  7. It may need a list of example Numenara – themed starting questions to get the players in the right headspace for the setting that they will be co-creating.

  8. Foci are very central to your character, since they really serve to make an otherwise bland character really unique. 

    They should inspire moves.

    On the other hand, I don’t really get why you’d convert Numenera to DW or AW. That’s like converting Cortex to Fate.

  9. Tim Jensen Those could be easily added, without touching the rest of the system. The principles and agendas are, by the way, nothing more than an explicit statement of the implicit GMing techniques that are generally practiced. Don’t get me wrong, I like DW very much. But principles and agendas are just explicit rules for implicit practices. At least for me they don’t change how I run a game. Besides, Monte Cook does a good job stating the agendas and principles for Numenera.

  10. David Bowers I think having multiple PCs with the same playbook is fine, especially because Descriptors, Foci, and Skills will be different and even the moves that players pick from a given playbook may be different. Numenera’s three classes thing is really following in the footprints of Blue Rose/True20 anyway, and doubling up is fine there.

  11. Lenny Pacelli This is how rulebooks usually worked before *World games. I don’t remember reading any agendas and principles in the various DMGs of (A)D&D. Numenera on the other hand has a game mastering chapter that talks about these things – even if not using the exact same terms. I don’t see too many differences between Numenera an e.g. AW or DW.

  12. The protocols for the GM in that game are absolutely terrible. I don’t want to get into a point-by-point analysis but basically, the role of the GM in Numenera is super obviously counter to the role of the GM in DW.

    “The most frequent thing a GM does during the game—and probably the most important thing—is setting a task’s difficulty.”

    Also, GM intrusion vs. the fiction. Forever. Bloody, horrible conflict, there.

  13. Done correctly, the GM intrusions are exactly like hard moves in DW. They also flow from the fiction. The setting the difficulty part is naturally like in other more traditional games. In World games, you don’t need a difficulty, because that’s built right into your stats and the hit-miss equation. So, having GMed both games, I continue to say: not much difference to someone with a feeling for the ebb and flow of a story. Maybe that makes me a terrible DW GM and a terrible Numenera GM. All I can say in my defense: the players had fun. 

  14. Adam Koebel In my experience, players are usually far too greedy to spend an XP to turn down an intrusion. After all, they lose out on two XP and have to spend one (net 3 XP loss). Also, GM Intrusions happen automatically on rolling a “1”. That works like a miss then.

  15. I see. The game actually plays quite well. But yes, I can understand that the text comes off differently. I’ve heard that a lot. Usually people are surprised how well the game plays.

  16. Jordan Raymond Sure, the only difficulty I see there is how you design and print the materials for players, if they need to combine 3-4 mini-sheets to make a char.

  17. (And I would not make Defy Danger a Speed move, since the move is meant to be the broad one you use when a move is called for but none seem to fit the bill.)

  18. Defy is identical to Act Under Fire in AW, which is tied to a particular stat (Cool, in this case), so I guess I don’t see a huge problem with that, having done it that way hundreds of times. But I guess we could invent a new move for Speed or give it Defend if we wanted. Either way, we’d need a generic version of Defy/Act for Skill rolls, I guess, since that’s how it works in WoDu.

  19. J. Walton the pc sheet is a problem, but I can see a couple of index cards doing the job nicely.

    And “Speed” does not convey the same things that “Cool” in AW does. Defend looks like a good Speed move, but Acting under fire is all about the nerves, not (necessarily) the speed. And if you want to create a broad move anyway (a la Defy Danfer), I would just keep it as it is in DW. 

  20. RE: Speed/Defy, that works for me.

    The index card idea could work; I was just hoping to have everything players need for character creation on their sheets, so you don’t have that thing where everybody’s flipping through pages/PDFs and writing stuff down, which makes character creation take a lot longer. Also, Descriptors looked like essentially 1 move and an adventure hook, so it seems easy enough to list those on all sheets. A bit harder with Foci and Type, though, since they have so many moves.

  21. Hmm, maybe you could just list the Tier 1 moves for everything on the beginning sheets and then write in later ones? Hard to know if that would work without mapping out what that could look like.

  22. Lenny Pacelli That’s what I am more or less trying to say: DW (and other games like it) take GM advice and turn it into rules. Other games give you the principles and agendas in the form of GM advice and not hard and fast rules. D&D and DW are rather obviously two ways of playing the same game: exploring dungeons. One simulates physics and gives the GM advice on how to run a game. The other simulates story and turns GM advice into rules. But at its heart it’s still the same type of game. You can (and from the DW Appendix you even should) take D&D modules and turn them into DW adventures. The same would work in reverse, except turning a Front into a fully playable module will take enormous amount of work and playtesting. 

  23. (more seriously, I don’t think you can translate the intent of Numenera into a *W game without breaking one or both engines. They’re incompatible as-written. The setting might work, but I think what Monte was trying to do with the system doesn’t mesh so hot. Godspeed if you decide to try, though.)

  24. I agree, but I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world to break one (or both) of the engines as long as you ended up with one working engine.

  25. Ugh please don’t try to stifle my creative process with questions of subjective value.

    But I agree, the setting isn’t mind-blowing and is very easily deflated by mediocre GMing. The thing I found most interesting was the economy based around the use of attributes as both a resource pool and as a harm track, which yeah is probably unlikely to survive a major hack.

    So fine, I’ll go back to my day job. Oh wait

  26. Things I think are rad about Numenera, a list by Jaywalt

    1. Only 3 classes, like Blue Rose/True20

    2. Descriptors and Foci as ways to customize the core classes

    3. Only 6 levels/tiers?

    4. Scavenging weird, ancient tech (a bit like STALKER, yeah?)

    5. Really weird monsters, potentially some Giger-esque stuff

    6. A very sparse, empty wasteland/ruins feel in a lot of the art, reminiscent of Ico, Journey, Shadow of the Colossus, the John Carter movie, the first Dune novel, Dark Sun

    7. XP for exploring, not for killing things

    8. Built-in adventure hooks for characters

    So, yeah, I like it as a streamlined, desolate, and yet kinda artsy take on desert/post-apoc fantasy.

    I am not at all worried about the supposed “incompatibility” of the two games, and am honestly doubtful that’s even true. Plenty of room to hack them together. But I’m happy to prove it.

  27. P.S. I haven’t played or thoroughly read Numenera yet, so what I’m interested in is probably really just DW remodelled into a form reminiscent of Numenera, but we’ll see.

  28. Yeah, I just skimmed the intro adventure, Devil’s Spine, and it’s a super linear series of fetch-quests, driven by events that the GM essentially tricks the players into going along with (something that kinda seems unnecessary, since each character starts with hooks that tie them into the adventure already). It’s weird too, because it essentially gives you a series of dungeons in which there are horrible monsters to kill, which seems counter to the intent of giving you XP for exploring. I think a more open, sandbox style of play would suit the themes of the game better. I know designing sandbox adventures is really different, and may confuse or alienate players coming from a 3E/4E background where everything is a string of balanced encounters, but it definitely seems like it would benefit Numenera. DW/AW has a fair amount to offer here, with Fronts and the like providing different kinds of structure, in addition to dungeons.

  29. Also, reading adventures like this really makes me want to write an adventure-design manual for DW that fleshes out all the stuff in the main book with long replay-like examples of building and running sandbox adventures (ideally, in a few different styles: one-shot, campaign, player-generated hooks, GM-generated hooks, “living” Fronts, etc.).

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