Into the Night is the first release for the successful Into the Ninth World Kickstarter that completed in September. The book was mostly done when the Kickstarter was announced, so backers were able to almost immediately see a return on their money.
The book weighs in at 160 pages, 140 of which are setting content, with about 20 pages of new creatures to finish it off. It is the usual art and writing quality that you expect from Monte Cook Games, that is to say, excellent. Just flipping through the book the art catches your eye and you find yourself stopping to read about the latest weird wonder. Even the front and back interior covers are interesting and compelling art pieces, though the interior front cover was difficult to read the small print. The two sided poster print that was only included to Kickstarter backers was of the front and back interior covers and is beautiful and far more legible.
The book starts with a short introduction which also gives the one real new rule change for the book in the form of a one page abstract vehicle system (Note: A much more in-depth overview of The Nightcraft is available separately as a $3 PDF). After that the majority of the content is on various set pieces for the Numenera setting. There are three chapters on near Earth set pieces, four chapters on things within our solar system and six chapters on things outside of our solar system.
Some of the set pieces presented are really strong, such as the Wreck of the Vlerryn. I could immediately see myself inserting it into a spacefaring campaign. There is even a chapter devoted to ten quick one page entries on other planets. I found these parts to be excellent space adventuring fare. They maintain the weird of Numenera without feeling extra-dimensional.
Other set pieces however are very over the top weird and would take more work getting worked into a campaign unless you were planning to use the University of Doors or some other instant travel across the vast reaches of space. Don’t get me wrong, these set pieces are quintessentially Numenera-weird, but some of them seem like they would have been better content for the upcoming extra-dimensional supplement, Into the Outside.
Rules-wise, the book has no new foci or descriptors, and I felt like that was lacking. The twenty pages of new creatures are great and help to expand the already thick bestiary for Numenera, but with as easy as it is to stat creatures in Numenera with just a sidebar note, I would have liked to see some of those pages used for a couple of new descriptors or foci. I suppose those are going to be saved for Character Options 2 (also funded by the Kickstarter).
Something new in this book that I have not seen yet in other Numenera books was new artifacts scattered throughout each section. These helped to ground the excellent narrative material with a little bit of rules. Included with each chapter are also the expected sidebars of Hearsay and Weird for the entry as well as a sidebar on how to use the section in a campaign. The normal sidebar notes are also there, including a new kind of note for interesting science topics that could be jumping off points for researching an idea presented.
All in all I would say this book, while not without a couple of missteps, is an excellent addition to the Numenera line. The art is top notch, the writing is top notch, and if you are a fan of the setting you will definitely get your money’s worth out of this purchase. I certainly recommend the book for any fan of the setting and Numenera gamemasters, but not for Numenera players just looking for more rules.
Have you gotten your copy of Into the Night yet? Be sure to let us and other readers know what you thought about it in the comments below!