Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

Far-future science fantasy RPG Numenera got a lot weirder with the release of the Numenera Bestiary, a collection of mutants, other-dimensional intruders, aliens and even stranger things. Check out the weirdness in this incredible art gallery.

Top image: Nibovian Companion by Kieran Yanner

Creature catalogs are usually my favorite part of any RPG, and Numenera is no exception. This book of monsters is particularly excellent because the things within it are truly bizarre. You won't find seven variations on dragons in different colors or other standard fantasy monster tropes. The Numenera Bestiary is All Weird, All the Time. (Fun fact: I've been calling books like this "beast-iary" for years, but apparently that's incorrect). These creatures are truly imagination-bending, and the art is relentlessly stunning, which is why we've got a gorgeous gallery of Bestiary art below.

That's not all that's been happening at Monte Cook Games lately. They've also released a Creature Deck, 100 cards that allow the GM to draw a random creature for a given encounter, providing basic stats and a full-color image of the creature to show your players. They also recently announced the Numenera Character Options book, due out in May. This book will provide more descriptors, including negative ones (like dishonorable), really opening up the creative possibilities of character creation.

Several "glimmers" (short modular extentions of the Numenera rules or setting of a dozen or so pages) have also been released, including Artifacts & Oddities and In Strange Aeons, a guide to adding Lovecraftian horror to your Numenera campaign.

The most recent glimmer, Love & Sex in the Ninth World, is especially interesting. RPGs have always had a tough time handling romance and sex. When they handle it at all, it's usually with a lot of giggling (I have a firsthand report that a common rite of passage for new editors at Wizards of the Coast headquarters is to make them retrieve the Book of Erotic Fantasy from the RPG library, which is situated in a highly visible area).

Love & Sex, by Shanna Germain, generally takes a more serious angle on the topic. The bulk of it outlines general sexual attitudes and practices in the Ninth World, such as sexual religious rites, various forms of prostitution, or unusual wedding ceremonies. It's a bit of a sexual utopia, since Ninth Worlders seem to have more pressing matters to deal with than judging people for their gender or orientation. It includes tips for GMs for tackling sensitive topics in an RPG. It isn't all serious, as some of the artifacts and oddities show a sly humor (magic bondage rope and a glass rod that "stays cold no matter the surrounding temperature," for instance). I'd have liked to see some more specific examples of unique ways romance and lust play out in the Ninth World, but Love & Sex definitely offers good information and a new way to approach mature topics in a Numenera campaign.

Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

A size comparison chart of all the creatures, via Monte Cook Games

Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

Bellowheart by Guido Kuip.

Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

Decanted by Ben Wootten.

Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

Ellnoica by Mark Bulahao.

Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

Kalyptein Crab by Guido Kuip.

Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

Plasmar by Jason Engle.

Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

Nychtheremon by Scott Purdy.

Numenera Bestiary unleashes the bizarre beasts of the Ninth World

Slidikin by Ben Wootten.