Glaives are the elite warriors of the Ninth World, using weapons and armor to fight their enemies. Hunters, guardians, and soldiers could be glaives. Sometimes scouts, warlords, bandits, and even athletes are glaives. “Glaive” is a common slang term used almost everywhere in the Steadfast and the Beyond for any person skilled with weapons or a martial art, but in truth, it applies only to the best of the best. Glaives are warriors who command abilities far beyond those of a typical person with a sword.

Most glaives are either strong—using the heaviest armor and weapons available and having a high Might—or fast, sticking with light weapons and armor and having a high Speed. A few attempt to use both Might and Speed and stay somewhere in the middle. Glaives also use ranged weapons such as bows or darts. Some don’t rely on weapons at all, preferring to use their bodies in hand-to-hand combat—punching, kicking, grabbing, throwing, and so on.

Glaives in Society


Stat Pool Starting Value
Might 11
Speed 10
Intellect 7

You get 6 additional points to divide among your stat Pools however you wish.

Glaive Background

Glaives are no mere bandits or town guards. They stand head and shoulders above ordinary soldiers and brawlers. Something in your background—whether intensive training, inborn traits, or biomechanical modification—has made you more than the others around you. Choose one of those three options (described below) as the source of your skills, strength, reflexes, and stamina. It will provide the foundation of your background and give you an idea of how you can improve. The GM can use this information to develop adventures and quests that are specific to your character and play a role in your advancement.

Intensive Training

You are strong, fast, or both, but what really separates you from the crowd is your training. Perhaps you ascended the highest peak of the Black Riage or sought the deepest sewers beneath Qi to find teachers who could show you how to move, fight, and endure beyond normal human limits. You know a thousand ways to kill a foe, most of them secret to all but a chosen few. You’re privy to techniques and fighting styles that most people in the Ninth World have never seen. You have learned that the impossible is possible—as long as you know the secret. Your body is a weapon, and your weapon is part of your body. You have studied with the masters, and now you carry that regimen as you venture into the world.

Advancement: You need to train and practice constantly to hone your skills and develop new techniques, building on what you’ve been taught. Perhaps at some point you will return to your secret masters for further initiation or find new teachers or lessons that can take you to the next step. When you gain additional points for your stat Pools, an increase to a stat’s Edge, or an increase in the level of Effort you can apply, the benefit comes as the result of rigorous exercise and personal development. When you gain a new skill or glaive ability, it’s the result of the martial arts you have studied.

Inborn Traits

You’ve trained under excellent instructors and have experience in many dangerous situations, but what makes you different is deep inside, entwined in your genetic heritage. Maybe it was the luck of being born fit. Maybe you’re a hulking brute—a mountainous figure who commands attention when you enter a room. Or maybe your strength is more subtle; you might be the descendant of a bioengineered race bred (or designed) for perfection. Perhaps you’re a mutant with psychic abilities that augment your physical nature; you guide and enhance your attacks with telekinesis, or you use a natural mutation in your brain to control matter on a molecular level to resist blows and inflict harm. Perhaps you’re something wholly new: an aberration or a human so perfect that you’re beyond human. You might be a posthuman—the next step toward the true destiny of the people of the Ninth World.

Advancement: You have talents of which you are only dimly aware. You must practice and experiment to find your limitations, if any. At some point in the future, you might have to seek out someone who can help you master your inherent abilities. You were born with great power — now you need to learn how to use that power, even if the education takes a lifetime. When your stats improve, it’s because you’re tapping deeper into the unknown reserves within you. When you gain a new glaive ability, it’s the result of your superhuman traits as much as it is about your study, practice, or knowledge. You can do things that other people simply cannot, no matter how hard they train.

Biomechanical Modification

You might be a fighter, but you’re no archaicstereotype—this is the Ninth World, after all. Although you trained and gained your share of practical experience, you have the numenera on your side as well. Some of your knowledge of fighting techniques is implanted in your brain and spine, wired into your nerves and muscles. Your joints have surgically implanted servo motors. Subdermal plating makes you tougher than should be possible. Your muscle tissue is augmented with artificial fibers.

Perhaps your genetic code has been rewritten by engineered viruses, or the tissues in your body have been reworked by nanotech, turning you into an efficient battle machine. Or maybe you’ve been altered by strange science—radioactive treatments of bizarre energies, chemical compounds and drugs, or extradimensional enhancements—that makes you stronger, faster, tougher, and more proficient in attack and defense than anyone around you.

Whatever the case, you’re the result of ancient knowledge made manifest in the present, and now you’re shaping the future. Perhaps your modifications are obvious and visible; perhaps they’re not. Regardless, you know that you’re more than merely human.

Advancement: Your body is an ongoing project. In a way, it’s a work of art, although its beauty comes not from its appearance but from what it can do. As you go forward, you should keep an eye out at all times for new parts and systems that can be incorporated into your body, or new doses of drugs and supplements to maintain your abilities. You might need to seek out surgeons, mechanics, or bioenhancement specialists to take you to the next level. Perhaps the Aeon Priests can help. Perhaps the parts you need can be found only in the ruins of the past or the dangerous black market of a faraway city. When your stats improve, it’s because you literally have added something new to your body. When you gain a new ability, it’s the direct result of a tangible change in your own physical being.

Choose or roll on the Glaive Connection table.

Glaive Tiers

Glaive Example

Return to Character Creation entry.


Numenera - The Devil's Spine wootersl