Numenéra: Gift of the Calimshan
Your Pool is the most basic measurement of a stat.
Comparing the Pools of two creatures will give you a general sense of which creature is superior in that stat. For example, a character who has a Might Pool of 16 is stronger (in a basic sense) than a character who has a Might Pool of 12. Most characters start with a Pool of 9 to 12 in most stats—that’s the average range.
When your character is injured, sickened, or attacked, you temporarily lose points from one of your stat Pools. The nature of the attack determines which Pool loses points. For example, physical damage from a sword reduces your Might Pool, a poison that makes you clumsy reduces your Speed Pool, and a psionic blast reduces your Intellect Pool. You can also spend points from one of your stat Pools to decrease a task’s difficulty (see Effort, next page). You can rest to regain lost points from a stat Pool (ask your GM for additional information), and some special abilities or numenera might allow you to recover lost points quickly.
Although your Pool is the basic measurement of a stat, your Edge is also important. When something requires you to spend points from a stat Pool, your Edge for that stat reduces the cost. It also reduces the cost of applying Effort to a roll.
For example, let’s say you have a mental blast ability, and activating it costs 1 point from your Intellect Pool. Subtract your Intellect Edge from the activation cost, and the result is how many points you must spend to use the mental blast. If using your Edge reduces the cost to 0, you can use the ability for free.
Your Edge can be different for each stat. For example, you could have a Might Edge of 1, a Speed Edge of 1, and an Intellect Edge of 0. You’ll always have an Edge of at least 1 in one stat. Your Edge for a stat reduces the cost of spending points from that stat Pool, but not from other Pools. Your Might Edge reduces the cost of spending points from your Might Pool, but it doesn’t affect your Speed Pool or Intellect Pool. Once a stat’s Edge reaches 3, you can apply one level of Effort for free.
A character who has a low Might Pool but a high Might Edge has the potential to perform Might actions consistently better than a character who has a Might Edge of 0. The high Edge will let her reduce the cost of spending points from the Pool, which means she’ll have more points available to spend on applying Effort.
When your character really needs to accomplish a task, you can apply Effort. For a beginning character, applying Effort requires spending 3 points from the stat Pool appropriate to the action. Thus, if your character tries to dodge an attack (a Speed roll) and wants to increase the chance for success, you can apply Effort by spending 3 points from your Speed Pool. Effort lowers the difficulty of the task by one step. This is called applying one level of Effort.
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.
Applying more Effort can lower a task’s difficulty further: each additional level of Effort reduces the difficulty by another step. Applying one level of Effort lowers the difficulty by one step, applying two levels lowers the difficulty by two steps, and so on. However, each level of Effort after the first costs only 2 points from the stat Pool instead of 3. So applying two levels of Effort costs 5 points (3 for the first level plus 2 for the second level), applying
three levels costs 7 points (3 plus 2 plus 2), and so on. Every character has an Effort score, which indicates the maximum number of levels of Effort that can be applied to a roll. A beginning (first-tier) character has an Effort of 1, meaning you can apply only one level of Effort to a roll.
A more experienced character has a higher Effort score and can apply more levels of Effort to a roll. For example, a character who has an Effort of 3 can apply up to three levels of Effort to reduce a task’s difficulty.When you apply Effort, subtract your relevant Edge from the total cost of applying Effort. For example, let’s say you need to make a Speed roll. To increase your chance for success, you decide to apply one level of Effort, which will reduce the difficulty of the task by one step. Normally, that would cost 3 points from your Speed Pool. However, you have a Speed Edge of 2, so you subtract that from the cost. Thus, applying Effort to the roll costs only 1 point from your Speed Pool.
What if you applied two levels of Effort to the Speed roll instead of just one? That would reduce the difficulty of the task by two steps. Normally, it would cost 5 points from your Speed Pool, but after subtracting your Speed Edge of 2, it costs only 3 points. Once a stat’s Edge reaches 3, you can apply one level of Effort for free. For example, if you have a Speed Edge of 3 and you apply one level of Effort to a Speed roll, it costs you 0 points from your Speed Pool. (Normally, applying one level of Effort would cost 3 points, but you subtract your Speed Edge from that cost, reducing it to 0.)
Skills and other advantages also decrease a task’s difficulty, and you can use them in conjunction with Effort. In addition, your character might have special abilities or equipment that allow you to apply Effort to accomplish a special effect, such as knocking down a foe with an attack or affecting multiple targets with a power that normally affects only one.
Applying Effort, Stats, and Damage
Instead of applying Effort to reduce the difficulty of your attack, you can apply Effort to increase the amount of damage you inflict with an attack. For each level of Effort you apply in this way, you inflict 3 additional points of damage. This works for any kind of attack that inflicts damage, whether a sword, a crossbow, a mind blast, or something else.
When using Effort to increase the damage of an area attack, such as the explosion created by a nano’s Flash ability, you inflict 2 additional points of damage instead of 3 points. However, the additional points are dealt to all targets in the area. Further, even if one or more of the targets in the area resist the attack, you still inflict 1 point of damage to them.
Be aware that when you take damage, that comes directly out of one of your pools, so spending a lot of effort can be detrimental. Then again, if you don’t spend the effort, will you be able to win or get away?
Damage, unless otherwise specified, depletes stat pools in the order of Might, Speed and Intelligence. You can recover points into your stats by taking breathers or breaks, though the length increases with each use during a single day.
The first break you can take is a short breather – that is, spend one single action in or out of combat, make a recovery roll. Your second break takes ten minutes. Your third takes one hour, and your fourth takes ten hours.
Each time you make a recovery roll, you regain 1d6+1 per tier. You may allocate these points among as many stats as you wish. All to one, or divided in any way among two or all three stats.
The Damage Track
Hale: Normal. All 3 of your stat pools have 1 or more points in them.
impaired: wounded or injured. One of your stat pools is reduced to zero. It now requires one additional effort to apply effort to any roll. An impaired character ignores major and minor effects on his rolls, and does not deal as much extra damage in combat with special rolls. Normally a character that rolls a 17+ triggers an effect, an Impaired character only adds +1 to the damage.
Debilitated: Critically injured. Two of your stat pools are reduced to zero. You may take no actions other than to move an immediate distance (typically to crawl away). If your speed is zero, you cannot move.
Dead: Dead. All three of your stat pools are zero.