Torment: Tides of Numenera — 10 Interesting Facts About This Awesome RPG

The logo is almost as cool as the game looks.

Tabletop gaming meets desktop gaming.

(Note: the game discussed in this article is at times quite graphic. The images and videos in this article may reflect this aspect of the game.)

Have you ever wished that you could transplant your favorite Dungeons & Dragons worlds into the realm of video games? Well, wish no longer! Torment: Tides of Numenera is a fresh, new game that’s coming out later this year (release date pending).

Because this great project has been supported by funding from Kickstarter backers, there has been a lot of information released for our enjoyment so we can eagerly await the game’s final release.

Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about this upcoming game...

1. It Takes Place in the Tabletop RPG Setting of Numenera

This concept art for the Ascension of Kex-Lianish looks like it’s straight out of Magic: the Gathering!

This concept art for the Ascension of Kex-Lianish looks like it’s straight out of Magic: the Gathering!

If you need more D&D in your video games, then you’re in luck: the expansive world of Numenera is actually from a science-fantasy tabletop RPG created by Monte Cook (through Kickstarter funding).

Monte Cook is known for creating D&D modules for Wizards of the Coast and his personal company, Monte Cook Games.

It’s any geek’s best dream—the beautiful scenery you can only imagine in a D&D game is brought to life through the Unity engine.

The game will be playable on Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems.

A world unlike any other.

2. The Kickstarter Was Funded by 70,000+ Backers

Inside the Bloom—whatever that is.

Inside the Bloom—whatever that is.

If that’s not enough to convince you that the game is being done well, then take a look at the Kickstarter page. According to the statistics, 74,405 backers provided inXile Entertainment with $4,188,927. I know quantity is no replacement for quality, but I find it difficult to believe that over 70,000 people would support a project if it didn’t seem like a great idea.

There have been over 50,000 comments and 45 producer updates since it was posted in March of 2013.

What is the most unbelievable is that the project was fully funded within a matter of 6 hours of being posted on Kickstarter.

What can change the nature of a game?

It’s possible that the reason for this is that...

3. The Game Is a Spiritual Successor to the Smash 1999 Hit Planescape: Torment

The Oasis of M'ra Jolios. Seems legit.

The Oasis of M'ra Jolios. Seems legit.

Planescape: Torment is one of those games widely regarded as a classic, so it’s understandable that producers pushed to try for a sequel to it.

They were unable to get the license for Planescape, but the developers were open to a spiritual successor if possible.

The lead editor of the Numenera tabletop game and writer for Torment talks about the Ninth World and shows a sneak preview of the Numenera world map.

Planescape: Torment was a story-driven game based on the rules for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, so Torment: Tides of Numenera takes this to heart, focusing on character interactions and exploration, rather than combat.

Speaking of which...

4. It Focuses on Storytelling and Characters

I have no idea what this is, but it looks gross. And cool. But mostly gross.

I have no idea what this is, but it looks gross. And cool. But mostly gross.

The developers chose to retain several important aspects of Planescape: Torment for this game, so dialogue options and character depth are among the major features of T:ToN.

A short promotional video for the game.

I for one love a game that lets me really dive into the story. Instead of feeling like you’re a whirlwind cleaving through the baddies, Tides of Numenera allows you to cultivate a personality and relationships with the other characters to create an immersive story that lets you be a part of the world around you.

5. Your Protagonist Is a Character Who Has Lived Many Lives

Monte Cook himself speaks about the game.

What’s interesting about your character, though, is that you are the Last Castoff. What’s a Castoff, you ask? You know how in Avatar: the Last Airbender, the avatar is an individual who is consistently resurrected through being born into a new body as soon as the old one passes on? It’s a little bit like that.

The Castoffs are bodies that an ancient individual has used as hosts before casting them off and inhabiting a new body. Every time a body is “cast off,” it develops a consciousness of its own.

A color figure of the First Castoff.

A color figure of the First Castoff.

On that note...

6. Your Character’s Personality Attracts Other People Like You

Oooh, I want one of those! The weapon or the animals? I’m not sure yet.

Oooh, I want one of those! The weapon or the animals? I’m not sure yet.

Because your character has been so deeply affected by their previous host, your energy tends to draw in other people who have been similarly affected. These people each have the opportunity to become your companion.

This is of course a cool aspect of story-telling, but it goes even further than that: you are able to re-inhabit the other Castoffs as you travel to different dimensions, leaving a wake of change in your path.

Creative Lead Colin McComb tackles some questions in the first episode of a Q&A series about the game.

Through your journey, you are creating a future for both yourself and the people who have been affected by your presence and actions. This is known as your Legacy.

In fact...

7. Much Like Real Life, It’s the Actions that Matter, Not the Motivations

A WIP Render from Kickstarter Update #39.

A frustrating thing about existing is that you know how and why you do everything, but no one else can see inside your head. No matter how good your intentions are, if something bad happens because of you, then it’s still your fault.

It’s not what you meant to do but rather what you actually did and how it affected the people around you.

Listen to this as you read the rest of the article. Then, go back and look at all the official art in this video!

The same holds true in T:ToN. If you kill someone because you thought they were evil and then find out that they were trying to do something that would help a lot of people, then it doesn’t change the fact that you are the one who killed them before they could do their thing.

A short video about choices and re-activity in the game.

This affects something else, too:

8. Your Alignment Is Based on the Reactions of NPCs

Chang Yuan’s depiction of the Ruins of Ossiphagan

Instead of your alignment being determined directly by your choices, your alignment is largely based on how Non-Player Characters react to you. Each of these reactions is called a “tide,” hence the name of the game.

So if you do something that would be considered “evil,” then it won’t affect your alignment until the NPCs react to it, knowing that it was your action.

This is a short, silent Q&A regarding dialogue in the game. Ironic, I know.

Have you ever had one of those moments in a D&D session where you botch a roll and everything turns into utter chaos because an NPC reacted badly (because the DM thought it would be funny)?

In the not-too-distant past, I ended up killing a woman so I could take her job (I was a shapeshifter). Yeah, well, I left her body in her bed so it would look more like an accident.

What I didn’t know was that she had a daughter who was with her estranged father that day. So her father dropped her off the next night, and the kid found the body. Understandably, I was required by the Dungeon Master to change my alignment to “evil.”

If you couldn’t guess...

9. It Emulates Tabletop RPG Gameplay

I’m sure this place isn’t dangerous at all...

While there’s not as much combat as you would expect from a typical D&D campaign, Tides of Numenera focuses on a tabletop-style experience.

I sincerely look forward to seeing how that plays out. I’ve been playing D&D and other, similar systems since 2008 and would love to see how it translates into a modern-day video game.

A short video about level progression in the game

If you’ve played D&D, then try to remember what your best day of role-playing was like. It’s that—but in the form of a PC game. While there aren’t a lot of details about how this will play out in the final product, it definitely seems feasible.

Colin McComb’s 40-minute EGX presentation about player experience and perception

But the most important and most interesting thing is this:

10. The Game Asks “What Does One Life Matter?”

I’d love to have a picnic here.

Your hero/heroine is a character who has been cast aside. You were merely a vessel and are no longer needed. Or are you?

It’s easy to think of your actions as not mattering on a larger scale, because Earth has over 7 billion people. How could not doing your homework matter in the grand scheme of things?

Torment: Tides of Numenera will be holding us close and showing us just what it means to be alive. Every single thing you do affects the world around you in different ways. Your Legacy, as I mentioned earlier, shows the results of your efforts.

You can lead the world toward a brighter future, or you can leave chaos and destruction in your wake. Every choice you make and every person you interact with will change the world, even just a little bit at a time.

This video gives us a first glimpse into T:ToN’s gampelay.

According to the October 30th update on the project's Kickstarter, “Progress on the game is fantastic. We have written and implemented over a half million words. The majority of environment art is completed and being polished. We have assembled an exceptional team, combining skilled veterans from Wasteland 2, superstars from our pasts, and new talent discovered over the course of the project. The project is in great hands, with Adam Heine, Colin McComb, and George Ziets continuing to provide design leadership and direction.”

Before you look at the gallery, read this quote from Mr. Rogers (of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood fame) and take it to heart:

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet, how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
— Fred Rogers

A screenshot test in Unity.

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Gamer Since: 1993
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Smite, Lollipop Chainsaw
Top 3 Favorite Games:Guild Wars 2, Torchlight II, Amnesia: The Dark Descent
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