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Now that both books are out... 13th Age vs Numenera

Now that you've read them, which do you think you'll play over the long haul?

  • 13th Age is definitely going to be my new game of choice.

    Votes: 15 22.4%
  • Numenera is what I will play from now on.

    Votes: 12 17.9%
  • I'll probably play both, along with my other games.

    Votes: 20 29.9%
  • They were worth the read through, but other than as resources I'll pass for something else.

    Votes: 20 29.9%

  • Total voters
    67
  • Poll closed .

dm4hire

Explorer
Ok, both books are out now and people have had a chance to read through enough to get a good feel for the systems. Which do you see yourself running now?

I really like both games and am torn between which to run though leaning more toward Numenera, mainly because it is definitely a new twist on d20. I get the vibe that Monte truly took the best of everything on this one and made it into its own thing. It definitely doesn't feel like D&D but really captures that new game essence when reading it. I want to learn and play it.

13th Age on the other hand definitely feels like D&D, but done in a way that feels new and better than 4e. 4e to me seemed very cookie cutter, slap new paint on it, and change the name and it's a new class, leaving me bored after the first two levels because everything is the same. 13th definitely doesn't do that. It also is a lot lighter. I want to play it because it feels like D&D the way I wanted 4e to feel. And it still has that 3e tone in the background. This will most likely be the game I stay with over the long haul only because everyone I play with will feel more comfortable with it.

All that being said what are your opinions as to which you will most likely stay with?
 

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dm4hire

Explorer
Here's an interesting observation I just made. They posted on the Numenera Facebook page that they sent out nearly 17,000 pdfs for the core book (they did the players guide the next day). The Kickstarter only had 4,658 backers. I'm pretty sure the retailers only got one copy of the PDF, but even if they did get more that would be only 83 more copies. There may have been some who also bought extra copies, but I doubt there were that many. That still leaves probably close to 12,000 preorders of the book and PDF. I think it will be interesting to see how popular Numenera ends up being.
 

The question I am really interested in will be how they're both doing a year to two years down the road, mainly after D&D (insert edition name here) officially releases. Based on Monte's track record (AU/AE mainly) I think it's safe to say Numenera will have support for a few years at least.

Among those who do go with either one I can't help but think there will be a fair amount of "OK that was fun but back to D&D" once that new edition comes out.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
Both are moderately interesting to me (13th Age moreso simply because it's closer to D&D and likely to be more useful). Both may be sources for ideas. I am not likely to play or spend money on either.
 

dm4hire

Explorer
The question I am really interested in will be how they're both doing a year to two years down the road, mainly after D&D (insert edition name here) officially releases. Based on Monte's track record (AU/AE mainly) I think it's safe to say Numenera will have support for a few years at least.

Among those who do go with either one I can't help but think there will be a fair amount of "OK that was fun but back to D&D" once that new edition comes out.
I will agree for the most part, however I know quite a few that feel burned by how WotC(Hasbro) has handled D&D recently that they don't plan on going back. Monte's books tend to fill a niche that is for certain and while AU/AE are not popular as D&D I think that is because they fall into the same flaw that 13th Age will fall into, which is they are still D&D clones. Pathfinder has been the exception to this I think only because they have been able to take advantage of WotC(Hasbro)'s inept handling of D&D recently. By that I mean Paizo took the ball and ran with it after 4e fumbled in terms of 3PP support and then by not meeting everyone's satisfaction. That could change once 5e returns, but there are a lot of bridges that will need to be rebuilt in order for the game to reach its former glory, if it even can. Pathfinder on the other hand is starting to face a similar fate I believe in that the game is getting so bloated that it is on the verge of imploding as they continue to expand the rules and eventually will face the need for a second edition.

Numenera may break away from the D&D clone fate because while it has a very fantasy feel to it you can't help but remember it is a sci-fi game as well. Definitely it sits in its own niche at the moment and I would love to see it remain there. Sci-fi or even sci-fantasy has never had a game that equals to D&D as far as staying power or dominance.* Given the figures which can be found at the Kickstarter website and from Monte's admission to the PDF preorder the game is definitely popular, but as you say time will be the biggest factor in whether it remains that way. I would love to see sci-fantasy become its own market niche with Numenera filling the roll of flagship, but can’t help that like sci-fi it will be an area that sees fits and starts a lot.

*I am making this claim because while there are popular sci-fi games, such as Alternity, Star Frontiers, Star Wars, and Traveler to name a few, none have taken a dominant role as D&D has within that genre/niche market. One could possibly argue Star Wars, though I wouldn’t classify its popularity as being strictly gaming related since it falls into its own dimension of fandom as does all things Star Wars when taken as a whole.
D&D may be the granddaddy of them all, but you have to admit that something about it definitely set it apart as the preferred game by the majority of the fantasy fans in terms of game play over the years, at least until 4e and even then it still commands a large portion of the gaming community in terms of fantasy gaming.
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
Sci-fi or even sci-fantasy has never had a game that equals to D&D as far as staying power or dominance.*
Warhammer 40K (as in the tabletop wargame) outsells any RPG, including any version of D&D, by a considerable degree. And the RPGs don't do that badly either.
 

dm4hire

Explorer
I would agree that in terms of wargames, but it hasn't been a mainstay RPG which is my point. If you ask which game is the pick of the crowd you'll either come out with Star Wars on top by a somewhat decent margin or it will be pretty close for a few games that are popular.
 
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TrippyHippy

Adventurer
I think the 40KRP games have been a pretty consistent mainstay for the last few years since they've been released at least - the games have been top 5 sellers (top 3 sellers mainly) consistently since it came out. It's obviously difficult to make comparisons before then.
 

Evenglare

Adventurer
Numenera is my game of choice for the foreseeable future. I'm tired of the edition treadmill, im happy with the new system, it's easy enough to run and create new things for etc etc.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
Pathfinder has a lot of stuff but honestly it does not feel that bloated to me. Maybe because while there is a lot of material there are relatively few actual game manuals (13)? If Paizo makes a new edition I do not think it is going to be because people are saying, "This is too bloated."
 

I will agree for the most part, however I know quite a few that feel burned by how WotC(Hasbro) has handled D&D recently that they don't plan on going back. ...That could change once 5E returns, but there are a lot of bridges that will need to be rebuilt in order for the game to reach its former glory, if it even can.
I see this online sometimes but I think the number of people who will refuse to buy the next version of D&D because they're still mad about the last version is pretty small. I mean logically, if you dropped D&D because you didn't like the direction the company took it, well, you won! they're changing the game back towards what it used to be. I can't think of a better apology than 1)dropping the game they didn't like far earlier than expected and 2) using a lengthy open playtest to design the replacement. People may not like the new version for whatever reason, but that's different than still being mad about 4E.

Plus, these aren't mutually exclusive choices - people can own and play 3E/4E/5E/Pathfinder, 13th Age, and Numenera concurrently if they're interested

Pathfinder on the other hand is starting to face a similar fate I believe in that the game is getting so bloated that it is on the verge of imploding as they continue to expand the rules and eventually will face the need for a second edition.
I agree that it will happen some day but I don't think it will be all that soon. I don't think it makes great sense to release a new edition at the same time the new edition of D&D is coming out. Give it a year or more after Next is officially released and then you might see something. We're only 4 years into this edition of Pathfinder, it can run for a few more.

Numenera may break away from the D&D clone fate because while it has a very fantasy feel to it you can't help but remember it is a sci-fi game as well. Definitely it sits in its own niche at the moment and I would love to see it remain there. Sci-fi or even sci-fantasy has never had a game that equals to D&D as far as staying power or dominance.* Given the figures which can be found at the Kickstarter website and from Monte's admission to the PDF preorder the game is definitely popular, but as you say time will be the biggest factor in whether it remains that way. I would love to see sci-fantasy become its own market niche with Numenera filling the roll of flagship, but can’t help that like sci-fi it will be an area that sees fits and starts a lot.
Numenera is interesting but I think it's too "weird" to have any long term dominance. The kickstarter was big but I think a lot of that was Monte's name on it and once DM's start trying to talk people into playing it I think the road gets a lot tougher. I'd like to see it stick around, and it will at some level, but let's meet back here in 3 years and see what we have : )

*I am making this claim because while there are popular sci-fi games, such as Alternity, Star Frontiers, Star Wars, and Traveler to name a few, none have taken a dominant role as D&D has within that genre/niche market. One could possibly argue Star Wars, though I wouldn’t classify its popularity as being strictly gaming related since it falls into its own dimension of fandom as does all things Star Wars when taken as a whole.
D&D may be the granddaddy of them all, but you have to admit that something about it definitely set it apart as the preferred game by the majority of the fantasy fans in terms of game play over the years, at least until 4e and even then it still commands a large portion of the gaming community in terms of fantasy gaming.
Early on Traveller was pretty dominant, then the company decided to dramatically change up the rules and the setting and it lost a lot of ground - sound familiar? The Rebellion and "The New Era" is pretty much the "4e/Spellplague" of Traveller history. Star Frontiers was pretty popular -it was TSR- but it only lasted about 3 years as a game line. I agree that Star Wars is kind of it's own thing and hard to gauge.

Champions was the big supers game for quite a bit of the 80s and 90s even as Marvel and DC came and went but the company lost steam and Mutants and Masterminds jumped in and took Hero's lunch money and has yet to relinquish it, so change is possible even after a long run.

When you get into science fantasy type weirdness some of it depends on where you draw the lines. Shadowrun might bleed into it and it's pretty popular. Gamma World has had some peaks (and valleys) over the years. Rifts was regularly in those top 10 sales lists in the back of magazines in the 90's though you never hear much about it online thanks to the owner. The 40K RPG's are up there now and if it wasn't split into 5 different lines it might be perceived as more dominant than it seems to be.

13th Age has both a bigger chance and a bigger risk, I think: over the long haul some games ride alongside D&D and do well enough, like C&C. Others get squeezed out by "we could just play D&D" like Palladium Fantasy. Time will tell.

Numenera, despite having "Monte Cook" on the cover, has less of a link to D&D in my mind, partly because of the setting, partly because of the rules, and partly because of the kickstarter. the setting is different enough from standard fantasy that it's necessarily competing with D&D, the rules are not standard d20, and kickstarter backers tend to be invested in a game beyond just financial considerations. That means there will be a vocal, active core of people pushing the game and that should help quite a bit.
 

dm4hire

Explorer
Pathfinder has a lot of stuff but honestly it does not feel that bloated to me. Maybe because while there is a lot of material there are relatively few actual game manuals (13)? If Paizo makes a new edition I do not think it is going to be because people are saying, "This is too bloated."
See that's kind of a fallacy as 1st ed had about as many books, including Deities & Demigods, DragonLance Adventures, Dungeon Masters Guide, Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, Fiend Folio, Greyhawk Adventures, Legends & Lore, Manual of the Planes, Monster Manual, Monster Manual II, Oriental Adventures, Players Handbook, Unearthed Arcana, and Wilderness Survival Guide all as hardback books. There was no question that 2nd Ed was needed, but it wasn't because there were too many books, but because the rules were conflicting already as well as other gaming aspects needed to be addressed and fixed.

I think where the problem with editions, beyond the first, is that the designers (as well as the players) start thinking of cool things to add to the game and don't think of what the overall impact is going to be. They kick out books adding new details but they don't account for every aspect. Playtesting has definitely helped curb that and while I think Pathfinder is better than 3e in a lot of respects because of that (and 5e will definitely be better than previous editions for the same reason) they are going to fall into the same hole eventually.

Where we can fix this when going to the next edition is looking from the top down. Once the decision to make the next edition is made I think you need to stop and look at the game from the top down. Then decide where you want to end both for characters and monsters and scale everything from there. What monster will be the top of the food chain and start filling in the pyramid going down from there. By not doing this you end up seeing monsters that were meant to be the top suddenly becoming second rate. They no longer have the same association they once had as penultimate monsters. Then to fix the problem you see things like "elder" or whatever template the company comes up with that gets added to the monster to push it up to meet the challenge that the players will be facing.

That creates a breakdown because the fix either becomes too powerful or still too weak. The result eventually leads to the next edition. 4e met that challenge somewhat by setting a maximum level for the game, but even then WotC failed because they kept throwing more stuff into the mix without thought. By thinking top down you set you limits as to what is the penultimate mob then stick everything else in where they fit below it.
I will admit that 13th Age addresses this by having the level cap at 10th for players and then having the monsters cap at 14th. If they keep the influx of materials down as far as abilities and keep classes to the same restriction then it will work in the long run because they will eliminate the game breaking down. The key is limiting what gets released as far as rules.
If every class is kept to a similar, although hopefully different, pattern then it will work as far as diversity. So if you want the maximum damage a character can ever do to be 10d# then set it, but let how they reach that 10d# be the difference as long as it stays the limit.
This is why I believe 13th Age will work over the long haul since it addresses that power creep and the break down at high levels. Numenera meets this by using a set range of difficulty and then limiting how it is adjusted as well as giving the GM a little more range to play with, thus through arbitration they can pull the reins back on the game and keep it in check. Both have strong points and excellent merits that lend themselves to my main question. Which game do other gamers think will have the staying power.
 

dm4hire

Explorer
I see this online sometimes but I think the number of people who will refuse to buy the next version of D&D because they're still mad about the last version is pretty small. I mean logically, if you dropped D&D because you didn't like the direction the company took it, well, you won! they're changing the game back towards what it used to be. I can't think of a better apology than 1)dropping the game they didn't like far earlier than expected and 2) using a lengthy open playtest to design the replacement. People may not like the new version for whatever reason, but that's different than still being mad about 4E.
Plus, these aren't mutually exclusive choices - people can own and play 3E/4E/5E/Pathfinder, 13th Age, and Numenera concurrently if they're interested
I agree and most players in that position probably will stay with the previous game they are on if they don’t want to move on or will completely move to a different game.
I agree that it will happen some day but I don't think it will be all that soon. I don't think it makes great sense to release a new edition at the same time the new edition of D&D is coming out. Give it a year or more after Next is officially released and then you might see something. We're only 4 years into this edition of Pathfinder, it can run for a few more.
No, I concur with you in that it will be a few years, but there is definitely starting to be rules conflict in the game which is my whole meaning by bloat. Once they start having to arbitrate rules interpretations between books it becomes a problem that most likely can only be corrected by a new edition, thus eliminating the conflict.
Numenera is interesting but I think it's too "weird" to have any long term dominance. The kickstarter was big but I think a lot of that was Monte's name on it and once DM's start trying to talk people into playing it I think the road gets a lot tougher. I'd like to see it stick around, and it will at some level, but let's meet back here in 3 years and see what we have : )
Perhaps, the rules light nature and ease of play once you get past the differences are nice though. It definitely will be a game that requires some adjustment for long time gamers, especially followers of d20.
Early on Traveller was pretty dominant, then the company decided to dramatically change up the rules and the setting and it lost a lot of ground - sound familiar? The Rebellion and "The New Era" is pretty much the "4e/Spellplague" of Traveller history. Star Frontiers was pretty popular -it was TSR- but it only lasted about 3 years as a game line. I agree that Star Wars is kind of it's own thing and hard to gauge.
Champions was the big supers game for quite a bit of the 80s and 90s even as Marvel and DC came and went but the company lost steam and Mutants and Masterminds jumped in and took Hero's lunch money and has yet to relinquish it, so change is possible even after a long run.
When you get into science fantasy type weirdness some of it depends on where you draw the lines. Shadowrun might bleed into it and it's pretty popular. Gamma World has had some peaks (and valleys) over the years. Rifts was regularly in those top 10 sales lists in the back of magazines in the 90's though you never hear much about it online thanks to the owner. The 40K RPG's are up there now and if it wasn't split into 5 different lines it might be perceived as more dominant than it seems to be.
13th Age has both a bigger chance and a bigger risk, I think: over the long haul some games ride alongside D&D and do well enough, like C&C. Others get squeezed out by "we could just play D&D" like Palladium Fantasy. Time will tell.
Numenera, despite having "Monte Cook" on the cover, has less of a link to D&D in my mind, partly because of the setting, partly because of the rules, and partly because of the kickstarter. the setting is different enough from standard fantasy that it's necessarily competing with D&D, the rules are not standard d20, and kickstarter backers tend to be invested in a game beyond just financial considerations. That means there will be a vocal, active core of people pushing the game and that should help quite a bit.
I agree with you again on all those points. Star Frontiers I think never got the treatment it fully deserved and had a lot of potential. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had they continued it and perhaps done a second edition. The same could be said for Alternity, which was a system a head of its time IMO, it’s a shame that for the most part it got thrown under the bus so it wouldn’t compete with Star Wars.
I hope Numenera and 13th Age both hang on for the long haul. They both definitely struck a chord judging by their current popularity and show that the market is open to what they offer.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Numenera is interesting but I think it's too "weird" to have any long term dominance. The kickstarter was big but I think a lot of that was Monte's name on it and once DM's start trying to talk people into playing it I think the road gets a lot tougher. I'd like to see it stick around, and it will at some level, but let's meet back here in 3 years and see what we have : )
I'll be curious as to whether Monte Cook expands his "Cypher System" for adapting other genres. For example, one could easily replace "cyphers" with things like scrolls and potions or other magical items for a more "traditional fantasy."
 

dm4hire

Explorer
I'll be curious as to whether Monte Cook expands his "Cypher System" for adapting other genres. For example, one could easily replace "cyphers" with things like scrolls and potions or other magical items for a more "traditional fantasy."
And we have this to support that thought:
Monte Cook's Bruce Cordell Announcement today at Gencon said:
“It was absolutely a no-brainer to bring Bruce on board. His incredible talent for creating and developing novel ideas that capture the imagination of readers and players is a perfect fit for us,” said Monte Cook. “We are building a hothouse for innovative game worlds and designs, and Bruce’s powerful imagination and strong fan following are just what we need to continue fueling our work on Numenera and, eventually, future projects.”
 

Stacie GmrGrl

Adventurer
I will definitely go with Numenera because it does NOT look like a d20 system game at all and the world is fantastic and very fresh whereas 13th Age appears like a true clone to D&D (and is probably what D&D Next wishes it could be). Numenera looks amazing and from what I have read of the world I can see so many different kinds of stories that eclipse 13th Age by a infinite sized landslide.
 

SchlieffenPlan

First Post
I will play Numenera as soon as I get my hands on it. We will probably keep playing Pathfinder for the time being, too. I would be interested in 13th Age, as well, if I had the time.
 

dm4hire

Explorer
Has anyone heard anything out of Gencon concerning 13th Age? Only thing I saw was the guy giving the acceptance speech for the Ennie had a 13th Age t-shirt on. I haven't seen any posts by anyone about it though news in general seems quiet this year from the convention, looking forward to Morrus' recap once it's over.
 

tangleknot

Explorer
I only need 1 dungeon dwelling rpg and Pathfinder seems to be doing a fine job. If D&D next heads back into the realms of 3.5 and 2nd ed as well as significantly simplifying the rules I'll be drawn away from pathfinder.

As for action adventure RPG's: I've played 7th Sea to death, Found epic endings in shadowrun, and twisted the rules of World of darkness to the point that it has become heroic... I look forward to Numenera and my players are excited for it. I know that Numenera will never be as popular D&D, but even if Monte only makes source material for a couple years that will be plenty enough for me.
 

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