King Arthur Pendragon

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Numenera - Genesis of a Campaign (Part 2)

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for my upcoming Numenera campaign. Players: stay away!

In my campaign's first post I described the basic premise of the campaign. From the get-go, even before I considered using a network of transdimensional gates as a clothesline where to hang the player characters' stories, I decided I wanted to include a powerful artifact. And where there is a powerful artifact, you can bet there are all sorts of factions trying to get their hands on it.

This being Numenera, the artifact is called the Eye of Azhura. The players will find a mystifying veil of stories and old wives-tales surrounding the Eye of Azhura. Most of the people of the Ninth World is superstitious and understands little of the technology left by the super-advanced civilizations of old. They know what trickles from the distant past in musty old tomes and oral tradition. It's a powerful gem or perhaps the eye of a god that unleashed divine wrath and brought the dead back to life. At this moment, I'm still playing with the form these legends will take, but it won't be a gem except in the minds of the people who tell these tales.

Taking inspiration from one of my favorite settings of 80s, Shadow World, published by Iron Crown Enterprises, the Eye of Azhura is an energy source placed inside a shrine to power a force field around the Earth that protects it against energy forces inimical to all life. In fact, there are two Eyes of Azhura: one on the north pole and the other on the south pole. How does this tie with the network of gates? As the player characters explore the tower structures, they learn about the Eyes (perhaps both the artifacts and the gate structures were created by the same civilization) and that others also seek to control the towers for their own ends including a group of voyagers from the stars stranded on Earth long ago who seek a functioning power source to restart their ship and leave the planet. This, of course, poses a problem since the removal of either Eye will deactivate the Earth shield, thereby exposing the planet to deadly energies.

Since I like to complicate things, not all of these opposing groups want or seek the Eyes. Some just want to reach far away places through the gates for their own purposes. Some are just in it for the numenera. I don't want to turn this into an epic affair with whole armies battling for a powerful artifact. I want to keep low-key approach with a small cast of player and non-player characters. Numenera runs quite well by introducing little by little the sci-fi elements. When the players look around, they will be knee-deep in transdimensional gates, powerful structures filled with ancient machines, an artifact that is a power source of a planetary force shield, visitors from the stars and ancient space ships. I like where this is going so far.

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