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Situation: Experienced game master with experienced players, predominantly from Pathfinder/D&D 3.5 background, but everyone new to Numenera.

I've read the book, and think I have a pretty good handle on the setting, and system mechanics. While the "Weird" is all about story over mechanics, and I know my players can get in to that mindset pretty fast once playing, I also know that their experience with the "crunchy" bits of Pathfinder will make them want to understand all (or most) of the mechanical options they have for character creation.

What has worked for you, to provide a fast intro to Numenera character generation rules for your players, to get their "Quirky Nano who Talks to Bees," on their character sheet and doing things first session?

I can get them to read the Amber Monolith story for setting, and quickly communicate the idea of target numbers as 3x difficulty on a check, and we can mostly wing it from there. However, my concern is explaining Edge, Effort, and the sheer variety of game-mechanic advantages each "verb" could give their character. I don't want everyone to have to read through them all, just to see what might be interesting.

Looking for practical suggestions to speed up start of gameplay, and get them doing things first session. We can explain the rest later.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I just realised that tag edit I made wasn't necessarily justified, because it turns out that both tags are equally suitable. Since we shouldn't have two tags with that much overlap, I've left the edit standing for now but posted a discussion question about the two tags on meta to sort it out properly. (JesseM: this is just a site maintenance issue and not a problem with your question, never fear!) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '14 at 2:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Gotcha. Thanks. When selecting tags, I missed system-introduction. That does seem slightly closer anyway, so thanks for the touch up. \$\endgroup\$ – JesseM Nov 13 '14 at 19:14
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The free Character Creation Walkthrough gives them a quick step-by-step guide to character creation. But it doesn't go into how to play, or what all the descriptor, type & focus choices mean.

The Player's Guide covers all the rules information the players will need, but it is 64 pages. Other than summarizing the rules yourself, or getting the players to read the rules before the session, I don't know of any way to speed up the learning process.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. Yeah, I plan on using the player guide. The Walk through might just be my best bet, with a healthy dose of "Let's just try something, and if you don't like how it turns out, we can change it later." \$\endgroup\$ – JesseM Nov 13 '14 at 19:16
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When teaching Numenera to new players, my usual bullet points are:

  • Effort - use as many times per action as the amount you have, reduces difficulty by 1 level. Costs 3 points from the relevant pool for first use in an action, 2 points for subsequent uses for the same action.
  • Edge - discounts the total pool cost spent by the player that action, including the costs of using effort and abilities.

As for the sheer number of options, I don't really think there are any full-coverage ways of explaining all of them simply. I guess the basics are that most abilities will incur a pool cost to use, while some might grant you always-on bonuses or skills at no cost. Each one is different and has different rules.

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