InXile details Torment: Tides of Numenera "narrative character generation"

Torment: Tides of Numenera

The latest Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter update talks about how the game will handle character generation. In many ways, the process will be similar to the classless character generation of its predecessor, Planescape: Torment, but with even fewer initial choices. In fact, the only decision you'll have to make at the outset of the game will be your gender.

That's not to say that there won't be many more options that come up during the early stages of the game, but because players are far less likely to be even passingly familiar with Numenera's rules than they were with the AD&D ruleset that governed Planescape, inXile is trying to incorporate as much of the character generation phase as possible into the game itself.

"At the start of the game, the only immediate choice you'll make is what gender you want to play. Like PST, your name and appearance are predetermined, and you’ll start with 9 in all three Stat Pools (Might, Speed, and Intellect). With that, you'll be dropped immediately into the world," Design Lead Adam Heine explained. "Early in the narrative, you explore several memories and, in doing so, allocate 6 additional Stat Pool points while also showing a leaning toward what Descriptor best applies to you. The way you will do this is entirely in-world and part of the story. Your Descriptor gives you a few first Skills and some Stat adjustments, defining a flavor for everything you do."

The sheer number of choices to be made was another factor in the decision to do away with conventional character generation options. There are 17 Descriptors, which Heine said is "too many to sift through in an RPG conversation," and so your interactions and behavior during the opening bits of the game will ultimately lead your character to be assigned a subset of those Descriptors. You won't be stuck with them, however, and if your preference is to "face the full fury" of all available Descriptors, you'll have that option.

Choosing your character's Type—basically a class—and Focus will be handled in a similar, but simpler, fashion. Unlike Planescape: Torment, you won't be able to change your Type at will, but Focus can be switched, for a cost. "Learning about the Foci and choosing your first one will be wrapped in the narrative like Descriptor and Type," Heine wrote. "The goal of all this is to combine learning the system with playing through the story. In the same way that your Tides (being your alignment, so to speak) are determined organically by your actions, your mechanical choices will also be a natural extension of how you choose to play the game."

I would still very much like a proper sequel to Planescape: Torment. But between this and the Ninth World trailer from March, I'm feeling pretty good about Numenera, too.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.