Is the Task Difficulty from an event a secret for GM ?

So like the GM says:

  • You attack the XXX, roll a D20 and I'll tell you if you hit ?
  • The target number to attack the XXX is 3, please roll a D20.

2 Answers 2


This is from page 84 of the corebook:

The GM doesn’t have to tell the player what the target number is, but he can give her a hint, especially if her character would reasonably know if the action was easy, average, difficult, or impossible.

This is from the Numenera GM Screen:

It’s okay to tell players—particularly starting players—the difficulty of the task.

So no, it's not necessarily a secret the GM must keep from players.

You might want to take into account the Effort economy when deciding whether to tell players the task difficulty, e.g. if a player is about to spend some of her last Speed points to apply Effort when it would be "unnecessary". Consider this article, and the fact that learning when and when not to use Effort is a big part of mastering Cypher System games.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for your answer, but you might want to mention that one of the core game mechanics of Numenera is spending effort to lower the difficulty of the task and it's extremely difficult for players to know how much effort to spend if they don't know what the difficulty of a task is. The system is similar to FATE that way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Discord
    May 6, 2015 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would, but there's an example in the corebook, in the "sample session" section, that has a player use effort even when it would be unnecessary, and the GM doesn't tell her anything. \$\endgroup\$ May 6, 2015 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ While that example does exist, Discord is correct, and the more narrative style play often includes informed decisions. They have a limited pool of resources, let them know and let them decide if it is worth it. There is still the random factor in some cases, and the unknown ahead of them. But so long as the GM is aware of the economy and still makes the decision to hide the numbers, that's still RAW, and a personal choice in how to GM. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kveld Ulf
    Jul 6, 2015 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KveldUlf did you read the answer? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 6, 2015 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did, but I still felt it worth while to comment on your comment, even though you modified the main response after. Comments let people elaborate upon an issue for readers... in this case, your answer, while mentioning the economy, I felt the note that more narritive play often uses informed decisions to be additive to the conversation, while simultaniously letting people know that neither answer is against RAW. I personally do not know the OPs experience with the game, or other games of similar style. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kveld Ulf
    Jul 6, 2015 at 14:25

In general, the players don't know what it takes to hit a monster (or generic enemy). That said, there are times when the player will roll some number, say 15, with added bonuses) and the GM will say, "yeah, you hit him, you only needed a 10." Like most things in RPGs, that's entirely up to the GM and his/her style of running the game.

Suppose your party is getting beaten badly, everybody is down to their last couple of Hit Points (or however your system tracks damage). The GM could fudge your dice or fudge his to keep the party alive to keep the fun going. I'm not saying that I do that but I'm not saying that I'm above it or would frown on a GM who did it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this based on general RPG experience, or specifically based on experience with Numenera? \$\endgroup\$ May 6, 2015 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is based on general RPG experience. I didn't see the Numenera tag. \$\endgroup\$ May 6, 2015 at 18:23

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