Friday, September 25, 2015

Factions of the Ninth World - The Cult of Nomothet, part 2

    In yesterday's post, I introduced a new faction for Numenera, the Cult of Nomothet. Today, I will detail some more mechanical stuff for the Cult, or for elsewhere in your Numenera game.

Optional Rule: Organic Technology

    Some of these new artifacts are considered to be living, organic technology vat-grown or surgically made by Flesh Priests or other knowledgeable individuals. As such, the idea of a "depletion roll" may not accurately describe the way they work or require maintenance. If desired, replace an artifact's depletion roll with the following:

    As living things, organic artifacts need some source of nutrients. Roll on the following table or pick one that is appropriate:

1d100 Food Source
1-5 Drit
6-10 Garbage/Excrement
11-20 Blood
21-30 Flesh
31-50 Food; basically anything fit for human consumption
51-100 Pablum; specially prepared nutrient paste costing 4 shins a week

    Generally speaking, an organic artifact requires a half pint/half pound of this material every day. At the GM's discretion, this can be scaled up to account for mass. Failure to provide this material reduces the artifact's effective level by one for each day it goes without.
    It also forces a number of depletion rolls equal to the number of days missed. For example, if you fail to feed an artifact for three days, it makes one depletion roll on the first day, two on the second, and three on the third.
    When food is provided, lost levels return at a rate of one per day. If an artifact's level is reduced to zero, or if its depletion roll fails, it dies and is rendered useless.

New Artifacts

Artifact List
  • Muscle Suit
  • Vampiric Sword
  • Revealing Tablet
  • Bag of Freshness
  • Sensory Mask

Muscle Suit
Level: 1d6+2
Form: A full-body suit made of living human muscles
Effect: When worn, the muscle suit grants 1 Armor, but does not hinder movement in any way. Further, it increases the wearer's Might and Speed pools by 2 each.
Depletion: 1 in 1d100

Vampiric Sword
Level: 1d6
Form: A sword with a porous blade made of bone
Effect: The bone blade of this sword houses living tissue that feeds on blood. This counts as a medium weapon, and when used against a creature with blood, it deals an additional 2 points of damage.
Depletion: --

Revealing Tablet
Level: 1d6
Form: Synth panel with a screen and buttons
Effect: When activated, the revealing tablet hovers over a creature's body and reveals a live view of its internal organs. By using the buttons and tapping on the screen, the user can zoom in or out and toggle which organs to display. It remains activated until the creature moves outside of immediate range. Using the revealing tablet reduces the difficulty of any healing or surgical task by one.
Depletion: --

Bag of Freshness
Level: 1d6
Form: Person-sized black synth bag with a zipper and strap
Effect: Anything placed into this bag will be kept fresh indefinitely. Food, corpses, tissue, etc. will remain in the exact same condition they were in when placed in the bag. The bag is intended to hold one human-sized corpse. Conceivably two might fit, but it would be a squeeze. Roll for depletion any time a new perishable object is placed in the bag. Note, this cannot be used to increase the number of cyphers carried.
Depletion: 1 in 1d20

Sensory Mask
Level: 1d6
Form: A box full of living tissue, worn over the face like a mask
Effect: When worn, the tissue in this mask bonds with the wearer's nervous system and greatly amplifies his sense of smell and sight. He can effectively see and smell for artifact level * 1000 feet in any direction, assuming there are no obstructions. He also gets an asset on ranged attacks, tracking, and any other tasks based on perception. However, the mask amplifies stimuli so much that if a particularly strong visual or olfactory stimulus is within 1000ft (a rotting corpse, an extremely bright light, etc.) the difficulty of all tasks is increased by one. Roll for depletion every time the mask is put on and every day thereafter.
Depletion: 1 in 1d20

New Cyphers

Cypher List
  • Gut Snatcher
  • Replicator Pod
  • Corporeal Exploder
  • Cerebral Transmigrator
  • Lizard Juice
  • Fallback Vest

Gut Snatcher
Level: 1d6+4
Usable: Handheld device covered in a dizzying array of buttons, indicator lights, and screens.
Effect: This sinister device is coveted by unscrupulous Flesh Priests and other surgeons. If the user succeeds in a melee attack and the device exceeds the target's level, the user may select one internal organ to rip from the target's body. If the target does not have the desired organ, the device fails and is wasted. If it succeeds, the organ is ripped out and the cypher transforms into a vessel that preserves the organ in stasis. Depending on the organ selected, the effect on the target varies:

  • Absolutely vital (e.g. heart, brain, etc.): Victim dies instantly.
  • Quasi-vital (e.g. lung, liver, intestine): Victim's hp/Might pool permanently reduced by half.
  • Non-vital (e.g. kidney, reproductive organs): Victim takes cypher level damage.

Replicator Pod
Level: 1d6+1
Usable: Palm-sized fleshy pod
Effect: Valued by kidnappers and assassins, the replicator pod can create an exact physical and mental duplicate of a person if soaked in their blood. The process of growing a person takes four hours, during which time the pod expands and becomes more defined. The replica is physically identical to the original, has all of the original's memories and personality, and genuinely believes itself to be the original. However, the replica is unstable, and it dissolves into slime cypher level days after being formed.

Corporeal Exploder
Level: 1d6
Usable: Injector, handheld device
Effect: When used against a creature, either by will, clandestinely, or with a successful melee attack, all of the creature's organs and tissues separate and float apart, still alive and functioning. In this state, the creature is unable to act and is unaware of its surroundings. Any attacks made against the creature in this state deal an additional 4 points of damage and ignore armor. If used against a conscious creature, this effect lasts only one round. If used against an unconscious creature, it lasts until the creature would normally wake up. In the latter case, the device reduces the difficulty of any surgery task by two levels.

Cerebral Transmigrator
Level: 1d6+2
Wearable: Headband, disk that adheres to the forehead
Usable: Handheld device
Effect: This device can be used against a character in immediate range. If the target's level is lower than this cypher's level, the device causes the user's brain and the target's brain to swap places by means of teleportation. In essence, the user and the target swap bodies. The initial user of the device can reverse this effect at will, but it is otherwise permanent.
    While in each other's bodies, each character's respective hit points/Might and Speed pools change to reflect the condition of the new body. Obviously, the Intellect pool, skills, memories, personality, and any abilities deemed by the GM to be the result of mental aptitude or training are retained.
GM Intrusion: Upon using this device, some or all of the user's esoteries no longer function, as the new body does not have the necessary cybernetics/DNA/nanite colonies.

Lizard Juice
Level: 1d6+2
Internal: Ingestible liquid
Usable: Injector
Effect: So named for the uncanny ability for certain reptiles to regrow lost body parts, lizard juice heals its level in Might points. It also causes all severed body parts to regenerate, growing from stumps to fully usable limbs in an hour or so. This only applies to body parts that are missing when the lizard juice is consumed, not after.

Level: 1d6
Wearable: Vest, pendant, sash
Internal: Subdermal implant
Effect: This cypher lies dormant as long as it is worn on the user's person. Should the user ever suffer sufficient damage to die, the device activates, restarting the heart with an electric shock and injecting healing nanites. Assuming the user's body is still mostly intact, this cypher has a level * 20% chance of restoring the user to life. A user restored in this way is debilitated and unconscious with 1 hp or a Might pool at 1 and the other pools at 0.

New Oddities

  • A box that can print a copy of any organ fed into it
  • Goggles that allow you to see living things as if they had no skin
  • A coin-sized object that sticks to flesh and renders the surrounding area and/or limb completely numb
  • A knife that cuts through flesh effortlessly, but nothing else
  • A knife that cuts through bone effortlessly, but nothing else
  • Calipers for measuring head diameter with a light bulb that glows with intensity relative to the subject's intellect
  • Pen that painlessly draws real scars when applied to flesh
  • A perfectly preserved still-beating alien heart in a jar of effervescent green fluid
  • Set of 10 lifelike human fingers that bond to flesh and become alive and prehensile; become inert again when removed
  • Wand with tiny display screen that objectively measures pain and pinpoints its source


    The following weird discoveries are the sort of thing that might be seen as the result of the Cult of Nomothet's activities. These might be found in any town or city where the Flesh Priests maintain a presence.
  • Ship propeller screw turned by vat grown muscles in boxes
  • Giant hollow flesh tower bellows out the time and weather every hour
  • Living flesh blobs grown in vats are periodically carved up for meat
  • Garden that is actually a single giant living animal plasm
  • Condemned criminals have their brains replaced with synthetic brains
  • Replacement human arms and legs grown like plants in a field
  • Aristocrats surgically modified to have wings, tails, extra arms, etc.
  • Constant surveillance performed by living eyes strung up like cameras
  • Surgically made chimeras battle in the city arena
  • Physically perfect children custom made in artificial wombs

    Okay, and that does it for the Cult of Nomothet, for now. I may have other ideas about them in the future, but this ought to provide you with a plethora of material for your game. Until next time, iadace.

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