Numenera: Alternate Connections

7 minutes

There has been a reasonable amount of discussion in the Numenera fan community about the connections each focus has. Some has been positive and some negative regarding one focus or the other. Personally I like the fact that the Foci character connections aren’t clearly ‘balanced’ in terms of benefits and deficits granted to the player/group because realistically no group is perfectly balanced. I value them more for their narrative feel.

However, that’s neither here nor there, the main point of this post is to list a few alternate connections for each focus - after all each type has multiple backgrounds that have an impact on character progression, it seems a little limiting to have only one possibility for a connection per focus.

With that in mind, here are some I’ve thought of, one for each focus:

Bears a Halo of Fire

Pick another PC. You once burned them, their home or their belongings whilst you were still learning to control your abilities. You feel indebted to making up for your mistake, whether they feel inclined to forgive you is another matter.

Carries A Quiver

Pick a PC. They helped you during your bow training and now you are so accustomed to them, you can fire at them, deliberately missing by barely a few millimeters, even without aiming.

Commands Mental Powers

Pick a PC. Whenever you are in mental contact with them, they introduce a kind of mental static into your mental network, disrupting and distorting mental communications but strengthening your mental attacks.

Controls Beasts

Pick a PC. You know they are human but sometimes you feel a connection with them like you do with your animals. Sometimes, you even think your abilities may work on them if you dare to try it.

Controls Gravity

Pick a PC. This person helped you hone your abilities and you have become so used to them that you can use your abilities on them as well as yourself, as long as you are touching, at no extra cost.

Crafts Illusions

Pick a PC. You once used an illusion to fool them about an extremely important event in their past, such as the death (or survival) of a loved one. The illusion was so effective that your friendship was built upon that lie and you dread them ever finding out the truth.

Crafts Unique Objects

Pick another PC. You don’t know why, but whenever you make an object for them it just doesn’t seem to work right. It’s always slightly too big or too small, or has strange side-effects when used, making tasks using it take twice as long as normal.

Employs Magnetism

Pick a PC. Your magnetic powers affect the electromagnetic waves in their brain, allowing you to broadcast one-way messages to them like a mental radio. Such messages can not pass through metal or energy barriers.


Pick a PC. They once toured with you, assisting in your performances. When performing together, your abilities are twice as effective, however as your partner is busy performing, they do not benefit from them.

Exists Partially Out of Phase

Pick a PC. You can’t touch them and they can’t touch you - for some reason you always phase through them.

Explores Dark Places

Pick a PC. You have worked together so often, you know each others footsteps, heartbeats, even breathing patterns. Even in pitch blackness, you can work out where each other are just by sound alone, or recognise each other’s handiwork and tracks.

Fights With Panache

Pick a PC. You hate fighting alongside them, quite frankly you find them an embarrassment compared to your own impressive and flamboyant fighting style. Being next to them in a battle makes you look bad by association. When within an immediate distance of them in battle, all attacks are 1 step more difficult.

Focus Mind Over Matter

Pick a PC. Normally your powers only work on inanimate objects but something about the molecular structure of this person allows them to be affected too.

Fuses Flesh and Steel

Pick another PC. You cannot harm them or through inaction allow them to come to harm.

Howls at the Moon

Pick another player. They smell delicious. When in normal form you find yourself looking at them, especially when hungry. When transformed, if they are within short-range you attack them in preference to other creatures unless you can make a roll to resist equal to a task of level 7 - your tier.

Hunts With Great Skill

Pick another player. You helped them hunt down the creature that killed one of their loved ones. You took a trophy from that creature that you wear on you and whilst the player feels gratitude for what you did, that trophy creates an awkwardness between you, but you are too stubborn and/or proud to relinquish it.


Pick another PC. You trust them as your second in command and have convinced your followers to follow their instructions in your absence.

Lives in the Wilderness

Pick another character. They found you injured whilst out in the wilderness, and brought you back to civilisation to get the medical help you needed. You feel conflicted by gratitude and resentment, as while you value your life, you’d have rather died natural than suffer the ministrations of civilisation.

Masters Defense

Pick a PC. You have trained them partially in your arts and when working together each gain an additional +1 on Speed defense rolls.

Masters Weaponry

Pick a character. This person was the one who set you on the path to mastery of your chosen weapon. Even though they may not have taught you, you feel like they are a mentor in some small way and respect their opinions and suggestions.


Pick another PC. You were hired to kill them, but something went wrong and you couldn’t go through with it. They are both a reminder of your shame for failing and a way of staying in touch with your humanity. Whether they know this or not is unknown to you.


Pick a PC. They infuriate you and light what little fuse you have on your short-temper. Interactions involving both of you become 1 step harder for you but raging in their presence grants you +1 to damage rolls, as long as you can hear their voice.

Rides the Lightning

Pick another PC. You have found that your powers work oddly with them, and rather than affecting them directly your electrical abilities travel through them as long as you are touching.

Talks to Machines

Pick one other PC. You are paranoid about them and every time you speak with a machine, you swear they tell you terrible secrets about that character, what they have done in the past and what they plan to do to you in the future.

Wears a Sheen of Ice

Pick another character. Something about them causes your ice-armour to go haywire. Sometimes when in immediate range your ice will fall off in their presence, in others it may grow ungainly spikes or even freeze solid so you can not move.

Wields Power With Precision

Pick another character. You are prodigy in esoteries and as such you can recognise the spark of potential in others. This person has an untapped gift - you may be eager to help them develop it or perhaps you are jealous and wish to suppress it so they don’t outshine you.

Wields Two Weapons at Once

Pick two other PCs. The weapons you most commonly dual wield are named after them. This may be a coincidence or on purpose, but either way sometimes the shared nomenclature leads to confusion.

Works Miracles

Pick another player. For them, your healing abilities work fine but cause damage to you equal to the amount healed. Something about them creates a harmful feedback in whatever provides your healing powers.

Works the Back Alleys

Pick one PC. They didn’t realise it was you, but you once broke into the home of a close friend or loved one of theirs and stole something. However, in the break-in you caused an accident, badly injuring or even killing them. Now, consumed by guilt, you secretly try to make up for the fact.

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