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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 .

fjw70

Explorer
I just got the Numenera PDF and so far it looks pretty good. I am getting my 4e group back together soon and will try to run short scenarios for both Edge of he Empire and Numenera if I have time (EotE will be first) to see if they want to try something else for a while. If not I might bring out 13th Age, but we will probably stik with 4e (which is fine with me).

so I will play what the groups want to play.
 

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Rel

Liquid Awesome
I participated in the playtest for 13th Age and came away saying, "I like this."

I picked up the finished product at GenCon and came away saying, "I LOVE this!"

Hands down the most excited I've been about a game since Savage Worlds.
 


Hand of Evil

Adventurer
I am leaning more to 13th Age, just like the touch and feel to the system and my players seem to like it. Now I love Shadows of Esteren but my players as a bit more standoffish to the Cthulhu vibe. Numenera will be played but don't see it becoming a primary game.

My order of play (at this time):
  • 13th Age (if I have my way) - a game every 2 weeks
  • Pathfinder - a game every 3 weeks
  • Shadows of Esteren - once a month
  • Numenera - maybe a game every quarter
 

Shadowsmith

Explorer
I have both 13th Age and Numenera. Both are very cool and I'll be running them.

13th Age is my current D&D replacement game. While I can enjoy Pathfinder, I find that I don't enjoy tracking skill points and it feels too busy for me. 13th Age is streamlined while keeping characters very individualized.

Numenera is a very cool sci fi/fantasy game. I'm a long time fan of Skyrealms of Jorune but can't get my current group to play it. Numenera has already gotten some acceptance as a game we'll try.

I like different systems for different games. The mechanics should support the setting and story rather than controlling it. Both 13th Age and Numenera do this well.
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
I got my Numenera book yesterday. It is gorgeous. It's done in the same style as Ptolus, only with more color. Very impressive. :cool:
 

dm4hire

Explorer
I am bumping this as it is the last day to vote in the poll and want to make sure everyone gets a chance at voting.
 

I've bought 13th age and got to read a friend Numenera book within a week of each other, so I got to see each one side by side.

My overall thoughts:

13th age has a lot of good ideas, but ultimately is a dnd clone. I think that as Dnd moves to next the game may be forgotten, but many of its innovative mechanics will live on.

Numenera is a brand new beast. The flavor of the world is very distinctive, and if it gathers enough design support may be around a long time. But if it doesn't catch on I think it will just fade away.


So basically 13th age I think will definitely be around in spirit, but never be a big name. Numenera will either make it big or die into obscurity.
 

NotZenon

First Post
I'm a little late to the conversation here, but i just wanted to post that i absolutely LOVE the "cypher" system of rules for numenera. Its very easy to teach to new (or young) players, and easy to DM too. (although i'm still not sure if i prefer cypher or savage worlds, i'll have to run more games to find out)

The setting of the game, I like, but i'm not as excited about as i thought i would be. I'm excited to see the cypher system in some new games (the strange looks interesting but not enough so for me to back it (at least not yet).

The 13th age seems really cool to me but ultimately i don't think i will buy it because its another d20 product. I love d20 but I already own so many d20 products and quite frankly am a bit 'done' with d20.
 

I think Numenera hits a spot with me. I dislike Monte's tendency to churn out legions of splatbooks, though, and so I doubt I will ever give the game a prominent spot on my table. A one-shot, probably, but longer games, that require more material? I doubt it.
 

Aldeon

First Post
When I first heard about these two games, I was extremely excited for Numenera. 13th Age just looked like another rehash of D&D and I wanted something with a new flavor. After reading the two systems, I pretty much dropped Numenera completely and took up 13th Age as my next game. I'm about to start running a game of 13th Age in a few weeks. I felt like Numenera dropped the ball with my expectations mechanically-wise, although I still love the fluff of the game. I always liked both 3.5 and 4e, and now I feel like 13th Age took my favorite things about both of the games and meshed them together. I've fallen out a bit with 4e after playing for a few years due to its ridiculous combats and I'm hoping it gets cut down a lot with 13th Age (and I know I'm going to enjoy it more, since I prefer description and basing much more compared to having a battlemat).
 


13th Age just never grabbed me at all. There are a couple of neat ideas (such as the Escalation Die), but my willingness to read hundreds of pages of rules for a game is now sorely limited, and anything in the kinda-D&D line will have a huge fight just to get me to take a look. So, if one of my friends runs it, I'll play, but otherwise I'm not even going to check it out.

Conversely, I've played Numenera (once). Sadly, I wasn't impressed - I really liked the setting, but the pre-gen adventure was, frankly, awful, and a couple of the mechanical aspects of the game were very problematic (though it's possible part of that was due to our misreading some of them). I'm going to be playing another one-shot soon, which may change my mind, but I can't see Numenera becoming our "game of choice", or anything close to it - at best, it will just be one more game for our roster.

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.
In fairness, there hasn't been any RPG that has equalled D&D for staying power or dominance! Vampire matched it for a few years, and Pathfinder has now matched it for a few years, but that's about it.

Indeed, there are precious few RPGs at all that have lasted more than a few years - most seem to get in, produce a fairly limited line, and then fade away. Even D&D itself hasn't had more than 5 years without a printing of new core rulebooks since WotC took over, and has been completely redesigned twice.

So, if Numenera lasts five years, it will be doing very, very well.
 

dm4hire

Explorer
In fairness, there hasn't been any RPG that has equalled D&D for staying power or dominance! Vampire matched it for a few years, and Pathfinder has now matched it for a few years, but that's about it.

Indeed, there are precious few RPGs at all that have lasted more than a few years - most seem to get in, produce a fairly limited line, and then fade away. Even D&D itself hasn't had more than 5 years without a printing of new core rulebooks since WotC took over, and has been completely redesigned twice.

So, if Numenera lasts five years, it will be doing very, very well.
We have the advantage of hindsight to make that claim though. The problem now is that unlike the past where most of us grew up with predominantly D&D, or some variant of it, that can't be said for players going forward. Pathfinder is definitely becoming the more dominant and that could change easily given the current state of the industry. Many gamers wetting their toes these days have the luxury of several D&D type fantasy games in addition to all the non fantasy games out there. Numenera is in a good place since it won't be wrestling directly with the big kids on the block and it breaks away from the standard D&D mold. 13th Age has the problem of competing directly with D&D and Pathfinder as well as all the clones. It's a virtual "clone war" for the title right now.

I have to disagree also with your comparisons of Vampire and others not having staying power. D&D may have had the dominance over the last 39 years, but there are still other games that have the staying power; Tunnels & Trolls just saw a new version release and it's the second oldest game and don't forget Traveler and others from back in the late 70's and 80's. The fact that Vampire and as well as others printed twenty plus years ago are still in print means they do have staying power and a strong enough following to support them. Vampire's appeal seems to have drifted more toward the LARP side of gaming, which is a pretty vibrant niche in its own right. If the online version lives up to expectations then it will definitely surpass D&D in that the horror genre has a much broader appeal than D&D fantasy ever had and will pull in fans and non fans alike. Most of the other games are niche or enjoy regional success, which means we can't exclude them because they don't seem to be doing well in our neck of the world.
 

We have the advantage of hindsight to make that claim though.
Sure. It's really easy to seem wise in hindsight! :)

Predicting the future is, of course, much harder - you might very well be right on all counts.

I have to disagree also with your comparisons of Vampire and others not having staying power. D&D may have had the dominance over the last 39 years, but there are still other games that have the staying power; Tunnels & Trolls just saw a new version release and it's the second oldest game and don't forget Traveler and others from back in the late 70's and 80's.
There are a few... but only a few. Vampire: the Masquerade has a new printing, but was out of print for a fairly long time there (and Vampire as a whole looked dead and buried until recently). You can add Shadowrun and Call of Cthulhu to your list. And Star Wars is still around, though I'm not sure it counts, since it's on its third distinct game from its third distinct company.

Even so, that's 8 games (including D&D). That's not a huge number, nor a huge proportion. As I said, "precious few".
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
It's really hard to gauge the impact that White Wolf/Onyx Path Publishing have on the overall tabletop RPG market without any indication of Drivethrurpg's over all sales, but no other publisher has more consistent top sellers. They have been playing the margin game for the last several years following the restructuring of CCP and no longer expend much on marketing or anything on inventory.

We know they have brought in over $2,000,000 in revenue from Kickstarters over the last 2 years, including over $700,000 for the deluxe edition of Exalted 3e. They are producing a vast amount of content, including some fairly major releases this next year:
  • Demon : The Descent - a New World of Darkness reboot of Demon.
  • Exalted 3e
  • Blood and Smoke: Strix Chronicles - a stand alone revision of Vampire: The Requiem using the foundations established in the God Machine Chronicles. Also introduces a new antagonist for inclusion in Vampire games.
  • Mage 20th Anniversary. Will definitely have a kickstarter.
  • Dragonblooded: What Fire Has Wrought - the first major splat for Exalted 3e. I expect this to be a Kickstarter.
  • Scion: Origin - Reboot of Scion. I hope we get a deluxe Kickstarter.
  • Werewolf: The Idiagram Chronicles - much like Blood and Smoke, this is a revision to Werewolf that introduces a new thematic adversary and updates Werewolf to the God Machine rules. WoD 3.0 really.

That list doesn't include a host of supplements for Exalted, oWoD and nWoD.
 

evilbob

First Post
This is a pretty interesting thread and I'm glad it got necro'd.

A few months ago I thought 13th Age was the newest, best thing and I'd never heard of Numenera. Now I'm wondering if it's the newest, best thing. For me and my friends, we played D&D forever and followed along without much thought about it until 4.0 completely changed our habits. It was so... not what we wanted that we took a step back and went out in all directions, finding all sorts of new ideas and cool stuff. Now that I've seen all the amazing ideas that are out there, I have a hard time imaging playing something even remotely like 3.5 ever again.

Recently, I've been interested more in 5.0 and my frustrations with their "nah let's just make 3.5 again" approach in some of the playtests led me to 13th Age. It was great because it had a lot of wonderful ideas about playing D&D-like games that definitely make them better and I wished 5.0 would have. But when we played 13th Age, we still got that same old D&D flavor in our mouths. It's such a great cross between 3.5 and 4.0 that I would have LOVED it three years ago. Now I don't think it's enough.

The reason I'm posting is because the talk of Vampire above. We got back into that during our D&D hiatus and our Vampire game was probably one of the top three games I've ever run - maybe the best. We got into a discussion about this recently and the short version is that I realized that when D&D, 13th Age, and let's face it - a zillion other games create characters, they all start with one simple question: what do you do. It's the very core basic building block of your character: your class. It's how you define yourself in the world and at the table. And it's an incredibly limited, ever-so-American way to look at the world! :)

Vampire, by contrast, starts with: what kind of personality do you have. It's right there, in the character creation. Sure, they call it "clans" and some people might mistake clans for classes, but it's so very different. It makes you think about the game in an entirely different way. You might have a role, but that's not what defines you. You are defined by your outlook on life. And somehow that makes all the difference with us.

13th Age didn't last long at our table, although it brought some great ideas and I'll still be using them for many games to come. But the thing that makes Numenera more interesting to me at the moment is that the core of the character is defined differently. It's not just a collection of powers tied up in a class - although it mostly is, and frankly it may also not last long for the same reason. But it's also a descriptor and a special thing you have that makes you different from everyone else. 13th Age called it "one unique thing," and that was awesome. But Numenera seems to push this idea a little further. And the idea that something like "charming" is at the very heart of who you are is the closest non-White Wolf game I've seen at getting the idea that personality - not occupation - is what truly defines the most interesting characters. There are a billion rangers out there in fiction. Why can I only name two or three off the top of my head?

So my ridiculously long answer to the OP's question is: I have hope that someday soon, our quest to find a game that defines characters in ways other than by their job - but is flexible enough to expand to other genres in generous ways - will succeed. 13th Age wasn't it. Maybe Numenera will be. Or maybe it will be something else.
 

dm4hire

Explorer
I can understand where you're coming from evilbob and I think you are correct. One thing I'm noticing with the Cypher system, Numenera's core engine, is that Monte and company definitely are starting to think more about how the engine works. The Strange is adding in some new aspects that I wish would have been thought of and included in Numenera, such as the changing of descriptors between realms (granted that can be house ruled in Numenera) and with the new Glimmer for Numenera we are seeing a taste of new descriptors such as Mad and Doomed as well as insanity rules.

The game is in its infancy and because of its separation from D&D it has better potential to develop in the future versus 13th Age which has tied itself to many of the sacred cows of D&D. Numenera compared to 13th Age more rules light and therefore able to have more added in via house rules to customize the game the way you want it. I think that as they develop the Cypher system we will see Numenera evolve more with each game they added on.

This is another aspect of the development in Monte’s approach as set out in The Strange:

The Strange: An alien data-network comprised of what Earth scientists have dubbed “dark energy” that lies just outside what we know. Also known as the “chaosphere.”
Since Numenera is supposed to be our world a billion years in the future it can automatically become either the future of The Strange from an Earth standpoint or another realm within it. Then any other game Monte puts out using the Cypher system should then automatically have a chance to fall into one of those realms not listed. Regardless if one doesn't sync the games together you can at least use the bestiaries and house rule what changes you want from the future material.

My actual concern isn’t that the game won’t last on its own as much as Monte seems to have a “make it and leave it” approach to gaming I’ve noticed once he focuses on something new. There’s nothing wrong with that and that may have changed with Numenera and the Cypher system; time will tell. I just hope the game continues past the current product schedule if only for a couple more books.
 

evilbob

First Post
One of the best things about Numenera is the bit toward the back about making your own descriptors and foci and whatnot. I absolutely have assumed that we'd do that for every character, and if there's an existing one in the book that can work instead: that's a bonus. That said: it's good to hear that "The Strange" is following in similar footsteps. It may be worth picking up the player's guide at the very least just to have some more interesting ideas for options (or the core book to also get some setting ideas and creatures).

However, one of the things that's started to work with our group - and seems pretty platform-independent - is starting character creation by intentionally not talking about someone's class/role/job. I'll have to make a separate post about this at some point, but basically we're trying to define the character first, and then shoehorn it into whatever "class" works best, modifying as necessary. This is sort of the opposite of nearly every game we've ever played, where character creation starts with your role, and then you sort of shoehorn your character concept into whatever class you picked, modifying as necessary. Numenera just seems a little bit more receptive to this, since there are only 3 classes, and the differences between them are relatively slight (and extremely easy to modify). Heck, they could have made only one class without much issue. They nearly did.
 

herrozerro

First Post
One of the best things about Numenera is the bit toward the back about making your own descriptors and foci and whatnot. I absolutely have assumed that we'd do that for every character, and if there's an existing one in the book that can work instead: that's a bonus. That said: it's good to hear that "The Strange" is following in similar footsteps. It may be worth picking up the player's guide at the very least just to have some more interesting ideas for options (or the core book to also get some setting ideas and creatures).

However, one of the things that's started to work with our group - and seems pretty platform-independent - is starting character creation by intentionally not talking about someone's class/role/job. I'll have to make a separate post about this at some point, but basically we're trying to define the character first, and then shoehorn it into whatever "class" works best, modifying as necessary. This is sort of the opposite of nearly every game we've ever played, where character creation starts with your role, and then you sort of shoehorn your character concept into whatever class you picked, modifying as necessary. Numenera just seems a little bit more receptive to this, since there are only 3 classes, and the differences between them are relatively slight (and extremely easy to modify). Heck, they could have made only one class without much issue. They nearly did.
Where might someone find that information?
 

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