The Backstory:

My girlfriend's birthday is next month, and I would like to run a one-shot Numenera adventure at a local game shop as part of the celebration. We both enjoy role-playing very much, but our schedules keep us from having a regular game. I should note that the other players either have no roleplaying experience, or no experience with Numenera.

I am familiar with the Cypher System, but am a fairly new GM. I've run two Numenera games in the past, both of which became non-starters. Something about them just didn't click. I'm hoping to find a published adventure that is good for this sort of one-shot situation, but isn't outside of my capabilities.

My girlfriend has been present for almost every game I have run, and she believes that the best one was a completely made up system and setting. Her justification was that I tend to get stuck in a rut when I feel like I must honor the original intent of the setting/system creator. It was meant to be an introduction into what a tabletop game was like (without having to spend money on a rulebook, because I was broke at the time). My rules were consistent, but I basically improvised everything. I put this here only to provide context as to what I might be good at.

The Question:

Which of the published adventures have you run in a similar situation, and what about the adventure made it a good fit? I'm interested in hearing about how long the session was, the average experience level of the players present, and whether or not the group left feeling like they had fun and accomplished their goal.

I only really have three requirements for the adventure:

  • It cannot be "The Beale of Boregal" or "The Hidden Price"
  • It must have a non-cliffhanger ending within a single session of play (max eight hours)
  • It must be a good introduction for those who are totally new to Numenera/roleplaying

I've searched for an answer to this question online, but most suggestions seem to be either too long, or not a good match for a group of newbies.

Any help is very much appreciated


This is my first time posting on any of the Stack Exchange websites, so if I have made a mistake with the format please correct me. I will gladly fix it.


Your girlfriend's birthday has almost certainly passed, but this seems to fit your requirements so well, I'll answer for future Googlers.

Monte Cook games recently released Weird Discoveries: Ten Instant Adventures for Numenera. They are self-contained short adventures, specifically set up for minimal prep and pressure on the GM, and have pregenerated characters for new players. It isn't even necessary to have the Numenera Core book to hand to play:

Throughout this supplement, you’ll see page references to various items accompanied by this symbol. These are page references to the Numenera corebook, where you can find additional details about that item, place, creature, or concept. It isn’t necessary to look up the referenced items in the corebook; it’s an optional way to learn more about the game and provide additional information to your players. (Weird Adventures, 4)

I haven't played them myself, but can quote this icv2 review which reports good results from playtesting:

The company sent nearly 100 copies of an adventure from the book to Game Masters to run on Tabletop Day, but did not give the GMs the adventure until shortly before they had to run them, so they were unable to spend hours prepping to run the game. The feedback from the promotion was extremely positive, with most participating GMs stating they only need 10 – 20 minutes of prep time to read through the material while their players created characters, and they ran the complete adventure without issues.

The free preview contains one of the adventures and gives a good idea of how the rest will be presented so you can sample it for yourself with no investment necessary.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I can only second the recommendation. Definitely use prepared characters, though, because otherwise you'll have to hasten through the adventures. If you don't have the Cypher deck, you may want to prepare some random Cyphers on slips of paper as well. One addition: The Hideous Game is another Instant Adventure. \$\endgroup\$ – Raphael Apr 16 '16 at 13:48

I wrote this adventure myself: The Helpful Worm: A Numenera One-Shot. I can't reasonably describe it as "published" but it is online and playable.

Numenera is about exploring and discovering new technology. I haven't been pleased with many of the published modules because they've felt more like linear travel and fighting monsters. I think this adventure does a better job of that.

I ran the adventure twice, for new players both times. The first time, three of the players seemed very happy with it; one player was frustrated because he'd made a lot of bad dice rolls. The second time, nobody expressed any specific opinion, but they invited me back to their place to run a followup game, so I assume they were reasonably happy with it.

If you run this, please feel free to modify it, even (especially) on-the-fly, as the situation dictates.


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