In Numenera, players can apply effort to increase their chance to hit with an attack and/or to increase the damage of the attack.

Thus far, my group has been playing that they can apply the effort to increase damage after making the attack roll and thus knowing that it has connected. I get the feeling however that maybe the players would need to declare before rolling what effort is being applied to the attack and/or damage for the attack, but I can't find a clear ruling in the book. Which scenarios correct?


1 Answer 1


Before you make the roll.

It's very easy to miss the rule, as it is on page 21, and rarely spoken again through the book.

You don’t have to apply Effort if you don’t want to. If you choose to apply Effort to a task, you must do it before you attempt the roll—you can’t roll first and then decide to apply Effort if you rolled poorly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also falls under the "use logic" meta-rule: if you want to put effort into something, you'll have to decide before you do it, not after. \$\endgroup\$
    – Raphael
    Apr 16, 2016 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Raphael I was using that logic for all other rolls, but my question was specifically about the increase to damage, which isn't a roll. Also, I know I'm almost a year late replying, but I've just seen the comment now. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2017 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ConorPender How is that any different? You make an effort; maybe you feint to get past the defense more easily (= lower difficulty), or you aim at a weak spot or hit harder (= more damage). Either way, it's part of the same action, and you have to decide before you start it. That is, the player has to decide before the roll. \$\endgroup\$
    – Raphael
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Raphael That was how I ruled it too, but my players disagreed. I know that as the GM I could just overrule them, but I decided to ask the question and look for other opinions(or rules references). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2017 at 17:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ConorPender Well, the rules are pretty clear as ShadowKras quotes them: before the roll. Since hitting and damage are the same task in the Cypher system, there is no room in between to do anything. I was just trying to offer logic that explains this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Raphael
    Feb 7, 2017 at 17:59

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