In D&D & Pathfinder, magic items and character wealth have scales, tables and an overall, direction related to leveling up.

I've found no direction in Numenera or Cypher System. With a Tier 3 character for example, what method do I use to assign equipment, assess character wealth, and grant artifacts?

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    Feb 1, 2021 at 7:38
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1 Answer 1


As I mentioned in a sibling to this question, equipment and wealth are not (necessarily) important concepts of character progression in Numenera. I can't give you a citation that proves it, but here are a few reasons to suspect it.

Your question was couched against D&D/Pathfinder experience, so I'll try to frame my answer the same way.

Most mundane items can be purchased trivially.

In my weekly Pathfinder Society game, it took me a (real-world) month and a half to save up for the magic weapon I wanted. Simply acquiring access to the resource was a significant part of my character progression. Choosing where to allocate my fungible assets was a critical choice.

Numenera doesn't do this. Take a look at the equipment tables (starting on pg.79 of the Core Book). The most expensive "special" weapons and armor cost 50 shins. Depending on how your GM divvies out shins, this is likely obtainable relatively quickly. By the time you are talking about progression between tiers it will be trivial. You just aren't under the same resource constraint as in D&D/Pathfinder.

Your most important items are free and commonly available.

Your most important items- numenera - are both monetarily free and expected to be plentiful across the Ninth World.

Equipment is not wealth.

In D&D or Pathfinder, most significant items are fixed assets. You acquire them once and keep them until you get something better. In Numenera, most kinds of items are current assets: you have them now, but they won't last.

Numenera and (many) artifacts are both depleted with use. Intrusions can rob you of the rest, or make using them unattractive. In most cases using an item will involve a task (either directly, or indirectly when they become assets) which may become unlikely if your pools are low. In all of these cases, the value of your equipment is depreciating.

Your most important resources aren't items.

In D&D/Pathfinder, there is a whole science to optimizing how and when to use items. In Numenera, many of them are either non-strategic (such as equipment used as an asset) or not interesting to optimize.

Your most important resources are your pools. They are your life ("HP") in that when they drop you drop. They are your ammo, powering your special abilities, spells, and in many cases - items. Managing your pools is the essential player skill of Numenera. Items are of secondary importance.


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