Posted on August 22, 2019
I just don’t know.
When I was alerted that there was another Monte Cook Games Kickstarter I a) was excited and b) groaned, because I can’t keep buying all these fucking awesome games.
With Numenera 2 (2menera) Kickstarted and delivered and all done and dusted this new KS is a bunch of great material for the system which I really, really like. Of all the RPGs I’ve picked up post-Pathfinder this was the one that changed the way I thought about them and changed the way I enjoyed them. Numenera has been great to me and I’m looking forward to playing it again.
The setting, with its tremendously open not-fixed-in-place world gives the GM and players room to make just about everything happen. There’s so much mystery and in that mystery, possibilities await. It isn’t a stuffy, stodgy world where certain things have to stay the same way otherwise it will invalidate x, y and z. There are benefits to that kind of world, your Dragonlance setting, etc or any well-established setting – instant familiarity and buy-in if you are slipping into a game of Middle Earth Roleplaying like a cosy familiar hoodie. But Numenera is about discovery as much as it is anything else – so there are unknowns. Unknowns.
Liminal Shores promises to push back some of that unknown. The project will reveal some of the secrets of the Ninth World – the planet encompassing datasphere will be explored, and mysteries of the past (how come Earth is the second planet from a sun that still works but should have died ages ago and who did that and why and, jesus, how?).
There will be three books: Voices of the Datasphere examines the information web surrounding earth and how you can interact with it. Liminal Shores explores a new land, found only through following clues in the datasphere. Edge of the Sun promises some big reveals regarding how things came to be as they are.
If it was any other games company I don’t think I’d be on the fence: I just wouldn’t do it and I’d kinda mump that they’d ruined the setting. But MCG could maybe pull it off – make the revealed aspects of the setting suggest even more mysteries. The strength of the original game wasn’t in giving you a crazy-detailed deep-backgrounded setting, it was that it gave you the bones of a setting and enough brilliant ideas to help you fill it yourself. The rulebook is far more of an aid to ongoing creation than a fully formed setting-Bible.
So, it’s a risk and expensive one: it’s already met its funding goal and now its just breezing through Stretch Goals.
I like not knowing about the previous civilizations in whose bones the present dwells. I like these massive unsolved mysteries that loom over everything and the world’s inhabitants are all like, shrug, “guess that’s the way it is”. Not everything has to be explained and not everything should. I’m sure MCG knows that, and I’m positive that whatever they do, it’ll be done well. But I’m not sure if it is worth $185 to mess with a perfectly fantastic setting.