Quick & Dirty Adversaries

Published December 9, 2013 by in For Gamemasters, Mechanics

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It’s easy to get writer’s block when making monsters for Numenera.  It’s hard to really keep it weird when there’s pressure to keep it weird.  Sometimes you need a little help.

Here’s my system for coming up with on-the-fly or randomly strange creatures and people.

Step 1:  Inspiration

The best source of inspiration is good art.  It gives you a starting place, often has a power shown, and is something you can show your players when the creature comes up.  Here’s a link to a general image search on CGHub:  http://cghub.com/images/search/  Just hit the random button up in the top right corner a few times until you find something good.  Sometimes it will just give you landscapes and Batman pics or whatever, but it wont take long before you find something crazy and interesting.

Step 2:  Special Effects

Odd as it sounds, a nice source of strange powers for Numenera adversaries is superhero power lists.  There are a lot of them on the internet, and several have random buttons to take you to a random page.  Here’s a power generator I like:  http://www.springhole.net/writing_roleplaying_randomators/superpowers.htm  Just hit the “Superificate!” button once or twice and you’re good to go.

Step 3:  Basic Stats

If you don’t have any preferences, I’d go for something like this:

Creature Level:  Average PC Tier + 1d3 (1d6/2 round up)

Armor: Creature level – 2

Health:  Creature level x4

Step 4:  Attack Moves

Make sure your attacks fit with the superpowers you generated (so long as they’re interesting).  Here’s a starting place for damage:

Primary Attack Damage:  Creature level + 1

Powerful Attack Damage:  Creature level + 3

Maneuvering Attack Damage (grab, push, etc.):  Creature Level – 1


Here’s one I just rolled up for my Tier 3 group:

Image – http://cghub.com/images/view/7961/  Four eyed horned dude.  Awesome.

Superpower – “Your powers are manipulating light and super speed.”  My first instinct is to make this a shadow manipulator, but it might be more interesting to make it blinding flashes of multicolored light.  The superspeed will be interesting to describe as well.

Level- 5

Armor- 3

Health- 20


Basic attack for 6 damage.  I’m thinking some kind of clawing attack that uses its horns to help rend.

Powerful attack for 8 damage.  This should be where the superspeed comes in.  Maybe I’ll have it do two attacks at 6 damage sometimes as well, just to make sure it feels speedy.

Maneuvering attack for 4 damage.  This should be where the light control is used.  It should probably do some kind of area attack against all characters in Short range.  Maybe an attack against Might or the target is blinded for the rest of the fight.  How about a blinding flash as it claws at the nearest opponent?  I like it.

So, there you go.  Pretty simple.  All I need to do now is name the thing.  I guess I’ll call it a “Horned Radialan”.   Bam.  Done.

[ ED: Have you created some creatures on your own, or with this method? We’d love to know! Be sure to submit them here. ]

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5 thoughts on “Quick & Dirty Adversaries

  1. Foolish Frost says:

    cg hub went belly up, may want to find the image someplace else…

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