RPGaDay #22

3 minutes


Day #22’s question was “Which RPGs are the easiest to run for you?”

There is one RPG I can basically run with no prep and no rulebooks, because the rules are both super-simple, the setting is super-flexible and I’ve played and run it enough to have a good feel for it.

That RPG is Numenera.


The system can basically be summed up as “Want to do to do something? GM states a difficulty from 1-10, you can spend effort or use skills/assets to reduce that difficulty, then multiply the final value by 3, roll a d20 higher than that.”

Everything else is just details, and they are all custom things anyway - no perfect modelling of things in order to try and support everything possible - instead it is mostly GM fiat on a case by case basis, which suits me just fine.

With the system being so light, and the focus on rules knowledge being mostly on the player it frees me up as a GM to be a storyteller instead of an adjudicator or referee. I can spend more time creating content and less time enforcing and verifying rules.


The setting of Numenera is basically “science-fantasy pseudo-medieval exploration”. Science is magic. Science is beyond understanding both of the players and their characters. Anything is possible. Literally anything. Because we’re talking about science so advanced it can create entire universes from scratch, you have effectively zero limitations on whatever you throw characters into. I’ve had characters traverse infinite time-travelling corridors; knife-fight in zero-gravity over a disintegration bomb; teleport onto giant beasts and material an alien boat in their mouths, causing it’s head to explode; scavenge deadly ‘weapons’ out of an ancient ruin and accidentally unshackle a power terraforming AI that began raising an army and rebuilding their world based on it’s broken, ancient programming…

The setting allows anything and with that kind of creative freedom, as long as you have an imagination and some idea of what it takes to make an interesting and compelling narrative, you can run a game with no prep at all. I like to sandbox the game as much as possible and be a fan of the player characters, letting them guide me towards things they want to do and see in the narrative.

Other games

Numenera is my main, comfortable, easy game to run, but in close second place is Blades in the Dark. Mostly what I’m lacking is experience in it, I haven’t quite internalised all the rules but I love running it for many of the same reasons I love Numenera, despite them being very different games.

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