Who has an Imaginary Friend

Published July 28, 2014 by

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Everyone, when we were little, had someone to turn to when things were less than best. You, however, were not everyone; tragedy struck and you were the only survivor of one of the many terrors loosed on the Ninth World. You spent years, maybe even centuries wondering through the wastes with nothing but yourself and a friend you made, or to be more exact a friend you made up. You cant see him, you just know he’s there; you cant hear him, but you are always thankful for his advise; while no monster notices him as they stalk you, you certainty aren’t the one that crushes them to paste. Maybe she’s the spirit of your late mother who broke out of hell to watch over you, maybe he is just a trans-dimensional being who took you under his wing out of sympathy; or, maybe he truly is a figment of your imagination, and he somehow has an impact on the world around you.

You would be lying if you said you didn’t question your own sanity every once and a while- who wouldn’t? You catch yourself midway in a conversation with a tree, and just as you begin to wonder if you’re all there, you see the tree nod, almost imperceptibly. Well, that’s all the encouragement you need, so you jump right back into your dialogue. But even so, your capacity to believe in your “big brother/sister” is tied to whether she can make any effect at all on the world around you. So keep your spirits high bucko (literally and figuratively) because your life almost surely depends on it.


GM Intrusion: Nothing happens. The lock remains unbroken and the guards laugh at your apparent insantity. Guess you really are crazy.


You have just recently emerged from the wastes, and decide to join the first group of people you have seen in who knows how long out of desperation.You feel as if your big brother is pointing you towards the group of travelers, and you aren’t one to question his intuition.

Esotery Effects:

Your esoteries are the result of the presence responding to your hopes, internal monologue, or a flat out request on your part. For instance, to Hover, your invisible partner would pick you up in their hands/tentacles/claws/servo-powered ligaments and lift you up, and Onslaught is him landing a fierce blow against whichever jerk is pushing his little bro around that leaves the bother completely bewildered.

Minor Effect Suggestions:
Your brother must feel some serious paternal instincts, as his cupped hands take the entire brunt of the blast wave, leaving you unscathed.
Major Effect Suggestions:
That last remark must have really pissed off your guardian angel, because that harmless Push ended up crushing the entire house flat.
Tier 1:

It: A something or other is maybe behind you and maybe it isn’t. Uncertainty plagues your ever waking moment, accompanied by paradoxical comfort at the invisible hand resting on your shoulder. Whether you’re sane or insane is always on your mind. During the check that determines whether the power occurs at all, all points are refunded if the check is failed; the check is performed with a 10-sided dice . For every level of effort you invest in the check, you add 1 to your dice roll .If you fail the check, you are so devastated by the breach in confidence you may not perform another action until next turn ( I understand this is unnecessary detail, but its meant to provide a reason for the mechanic rather than simply saying “that’s just how things are”) .

I Know Weird When I See It: You are trained in any activity that would be described as weird or strange, and specialized at any that do not involve conflict to boot.


Tier 2:

Rage-full Guardian (3 Intellect points): After the turn you take damage from any source, be it NPC or otherwise, you can hope your It will take matters into its own hands/tentacles/flames and deal the same amount of damage you suffered to those who were unlucky enough to strike you. Has a 1/2 chance of working out. C Strikes all those involved, regardless of how many there are.

Sleepless Sentinel: If that which looks over you exists as you believe, it will make you aware of lurking dangers, making you trained against detecting hidden enemies, and specialized at waking up to the presence of an assassin or other threats while you sleep.

Tier 3:

Foreboding Presence: Those around you feel uncomfortable, like they are being stripped and scrutinized by some unseen power. As a result, any social interaction besides intimidation is one step greater in difficulty;however, your party feels a measure of safety when around you; make any social interaction checks between you and them at one lower difficulty level. .

Flicker (4 Intellect points): If you find yourself cornered and up against the wall, your fear begins to make your thoughts turn towards hopelessness. It hates to see you this way, and for just the barest of moments, there form flickers just outside of your vision, petrifying your aggressors through absolute fear. Has a 1/3 chance of occurring, and if successful any thinking creature that has direct line of sight of you must make an intelligence check or lose there turn. (GM suggestion: you can use the exclamations of whatever is being scared silly to try and paint a picture of what the players “imaginary” friend looks like. Or not, and take some pressure off the GM 😉

Tier 4:

Backseat Driver: Your faithful friend, if they even exist, can help nudge you in the right direction when in the search for an item, place or creature, making you trained in such a situation.

Trust: After seeing the results of Its interventions during your travels, you are less worried by uncertainty. So, in the case of an ability that simply didn’t manifest, you may role again out of sheer willpower. Any effort you used still applies and an additional level of effort may be applied, even if you would otherwise be unable to.

Tier 5:

Inhuman Certainty (4 Intellect/ Speed/ Might points): You swell with unusual certainty at your given task, perhaps at your budding confidence, or maybe your caretaker’s guidance, making you specialized at your current task for its duration. There is a 1/5 chance of this occurring.

Tier 6:

Truth and Uncertainty: The GM tells you one important truth and one gigantic lie about the presence that surround and cradles you.

God Smack (8 Intellect points): Even in the most extreme and dire of circumstances, your big brother is always there for you. At your signal, he will unleash incredible power against everything and everyone within 500 meters of you, and the way this power manifests often depends upon your current mood. This power deals 13 base damage to all targets and may shatter buildings, collapse mountains and flash vaporize lakes. Has a 1/10 chance of occurring.

6 thoughts on “Who has an Imaginary Friend

  1. MalignantMind says:

    I really like the concept behind this. I keep picturing a nano who doesn’t actually have any powers himself, but rather his imaginary friend does everything, constantly looking out for him. Needs to be worked on though. I think you meant specialized rather than adept. And for the abilities that have a chance of happening… Do you pay for the ability and then roll a d100 to see if it happens? If it doesn’t, are the points wasted?

  2. Nicholas Johnson says:

    I love the idea of this focus, but as MalignantMind said it needs some work. No sane numenera player would have abilities that have a cost and then may not work even after you’ve made a successful roll to hit. Granted by sixth tier it looks like your imaginary friend is very powerful. Another problem is that a lot of your effects generated by this focus are vague. It puts the pressure of what happens on the GM. S/he would have to make special efforts to accommodate a character such as this.

    1. Andrew Kalmar says:

      I’d play it. I’d definitely avoid it in a power-gaming scenario where I was trying to be effective, but it sounds like it would be fun to role-play with. With that said, I do agree that it needs some work.

  3. Rogue Nova says:

    Thanks for the advice guys, I’ll try and fix it up.

  4. Andrew Kalmar says:

    I really like the idea of a character that is very uncertain of their powers because they usually don’t work, and the rest of the world thinks that they’re insane.

    ‘Uncertainty’ is redundant since it just reiterates what is said at the end of ‘IT.’

    Why do you bother to say that you may not attempt another action upon failure? Isn’t this assumed to be the case? You only get one attempted action per turn unless an ability or major effect says otherwise. Do you mean you are not allowed to spend XP to re-roll?

    Does ‘Trust’ allow you to re-roll for free, effectively doubling the likelihood of success on every ability, or does it mean that you are now allowed to spend XP in order to re-roll?

    I’m not sure that I understand ‘Truth and Uncertainty.’ Is this a one-time truth and lie that the GM reveals to you somehow upon reaching Tier 6?

    There are many spelling errors throughout the text.

  5. Rogue Nova says:

    Thanks for the tons of advice guys :)! Sorry this took so long, but things have been pretty busy; anyways, I hope you guys like the balancing and grammar overall.

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