Numenera - The Devil's Spine
Nanos are sometimes called mages, wizards, sorcerers, or witches by the people of the Ninth World. Nanosorcerer is also a common term, with their abilities referred to as nano-sorcery. Some claim to be the representatives of gods or other supernatural agencies. Whatever they’re called, nanos master the mysteries of the past to the degree that they seem to perform miracles. They tap into the numenera to alter reality or learn things that they couldn’t otherwise know.
The term “nano” is derived from the nanotechnology that is omnipresent throughout the Ninth World (whether anyone realizes it or not). Sometimes people call these invisible, numinous particles that infuse the landscape nano-spirits. Sometimes these spirits take on a devastating manifestation called the Iron Wind and move through the air in clouds, which can be far more dangerous than any conventional storm. In truth, nanites are literally everywhere.
Nanos wield their power in the form of what they call esoteries, although some prefer to call them spells, enchantments, or charms. Nanos are proficient with other devices as well, and sometimes their powers are actually the subtle use of such items hidden upon their person. All nanos call forth their power in slightly different ways.
Typically, nanos are intelligent, learned, and insightful. Most of the time, they devote themselves to the numenera and other esoterica rather than to purely physical pursuits. As a result, they’re ofte nwell versed in the artifacts and leftovers of the previous eras.
Nano Stat Pools
|Stat||Pool Starting Value|
You get 6 additional points to divide among your stat Pools however you wish.
Nanos can do things that seem like magic to other people, but their powers aren’t based on charms or spellcasting—the explanation is likely far stranger. Choose one of the three options described below as the source of your abilities. 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.
You understand the numenera far better than most people. You know that it isn’t just strange machines buried in old ruins. The numenera is everywhere, beyond the perception of humans. You know that microscopic machines called nanites are threaded through every inch of the world, waiting to be activated. You know that satellites in orbit are broadcasting information, waiting for someone to access it. Having studied long and hard, learning the proper ways to tap into the forces all around you, you know how to activate these machines and make them do what you wish, at least in limited, specific ways. These uses of power are called esoteries. Through various tiny devices that you possess, which probably seem like magic charms to the uninitiated, you “conjure” energy. By accessing the datasphere transmitted across the world, you connect with machines — including the nanites — to change your environment.
Advancement: You must continue to study. There’s far more to the numenera than one person can ever know, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to learn it all. More secrets and more knowledge mean more power. At some point in your career, you might need to find a teacher or another source of knowledge. So many questions need answers. When your stats improve or you learn new skills, it’s because you have mastered another new technique that taps into the secret world. When you gain a new esotery, it’s the result of long hours of study and practice in using your mysterious lore.
You know that the world is filled with ancient machines and their creations. Some of them arevisible, but many are not. It’s not just skill or knowledge that allows you to gain access to them. You have a psychic talent to interface with the machines to produce various effects. Some of these machines are secreted about your person, and others are infused into the environment of the Ninth World.
You can’t conjure energy or warp matter on your own, but you have the rare and spectacular ability to control the invisible nano-machines that do it for you. Is this gift the natural result of extreme exposure to technology? Is it the fusion of the biological and mechanical? Is it the design of a genius architect, generations earlier, who manipulated the genetics of your family? Or is it just a random mutation? In any case, you’re the natural synthesis of human and machine, working as one.
Advancement: Understanding this natural talent took time and training, and more of both is needed to expand and refine your powers. In addition to seeking help with your instruction, you might need to find drugs, devices, or other external stimulation. When aspects of your character improve or you learn new skills or esoteries, it’s because you have mastered a new facet of your psychic abilities or discovered an entirely new use for a machine in your environment.
Ports and Plugs
You have a connection with machines for one clear reason: you’re practically a machine yourself. Your nervous system is laced with circuitry, and your body has implanted jacks and ports where you plug in modules and other technological bits that provide your capabilities. When you produce effects or manipulate nanites, you do so through your body’s direct mechanical interface. Your force blasts might come from a device implanted in your palm or fingertip. Your ability to tap into the datasphere might come from the receiver plugged into a port you built in the back of your neck.
Obviously, to become a nano, you have undergone numerous surgeries and procedures (either willingly or unwillingly). You are forever changed. Some people treat you with disdain or derision, but perhaps most of your modifications can be hidden by a hooded cloak or similar garment.
Advancement: Do you want to gain more abilities? Just find new hardware and plug it in. Although talent and practice are still involved, physical upgrades are your primary means of picking up new tricks. Adding points to your stat Pools might mean undergoing new procedures. Adding a new esotery might require putting an implant in your head, although changing one esotery to another could be as simple as unplugging one module and jacking in a replacement.
Choose or roll on the Nano Connection table.
Return to Character Creation entry.