Here's an example of cyphers for Numenera, and one artifact at the end. Level is a basic catch-all for anything you might want to do with the item: reverse engineer it, identify it, add it to another device, or whatever. External just describes how it's applied. Other cyphers are internal (like pills or injections), wearable (like jewelry or temporary tattoos), or useable (basically describing hand-held devices like tricorders or flashlights). Depletion is the roll you make every time the item is used to see if you've used it up or broken it. If you roll a 1, this is the last time the artifact works properly, if at all.
Anoetic means the cypher is fairly simple and stable: it's a pill or has only one button and is extremely easy to use. Occultic cyphers have lots of levers and controls on them and are more complex to use, though generally only one combination of settings has any noticeable effect, and it's still a one-use item.
Goo actually describes a variety of substances that are usually found
in soft synth tubes. The tubes, even empty, are greatly prized by
explorers for their near indestructibility while their bright colors
make empty tubes excellent toys for children. Being brightly labeled
(usually), most folks enjoy a +2 on rolls to identify a tube of goo.
The tubes tend to be about an inch across and almost four inches
long. They’re pinched closed at both ends. One end is just sealed soft
synth, and it’s as difficult to pierce or damage as the rest
(Difficulty 7 to penetrate or pierce) while the other end sports a
brightly colored tab of stiff synth. To use most goo, you tear off the
stiff synth tab then squeeze the goo out onto yourself. With only a bit
of coaxing, the goo will spread to cover a single being. There’s
usually more than enough goo to cover a single creature or object,
though attempting to spread the goo out over multiple uses or people
causes the stuff to immediately decompose.
Decomposing goo usually liquefies and slides cleanly off the person or object it’s been put on [GM intrusion: the goo stains clothing it’s been spread over.]
or evaporates in a quickly dissipating cloud that smells like mulch or a
bog. This decomposition tends to be rather sudden when it happens.
Goo spreads to cover the entire body in a shiny, clean layer. It
will go over clothes and does the cover the face, smoothing over the
features to make who ever’s wearing it unrecognizable. However, those
wearing goo can (usually) see and breathe through the goo easily.
All goos are anoetic cyphers.
This midnight blue goo forms small, rigid scales across its entire
surface. The result is heavy armor that lasts for 14 hours. If it’s
spread directly across the skin, it imposes no penalties; if spread over
clothes it imposes the penalties of medium armor.
Translucent crystal blue, this goo must be spread across bare skin to
be effective. It tingles on the skin and massages the dermis and higher
layers of muscle. It improves the wearer’s Edge for all stats by +1,
but won’t raise any above 3. It lasts for 14 hours and evaporates into a
This rich green goo restores +1 point to any one stat every minute.
After half-an- hour, it will restore a level of health, then dissipate.
This goo seals a person in a tight cocoon of purple goo. Legs are
pressed together and arms are trapped at the sides. Those outside the
cocoon can change the translucence of the goo (blocking the sight of the
captive), as well as how well, if at all, sound travels through it
(though they cannot suffocate the captive). The cocoon lasts for 28
hours, or until someone outside dissipates it. From inside, it’s a
Might feat with a difficulty of 8 to break out of the cocoon.
The translucent crimson sensation goo heightens the sensations of
anyone wearing it. While it can reduce the Difficulty of a challenge to
a character’s tactile sensitivity (lock-picking, safe-cracking, reading
Braille, and the like), it also reduces the difficulty of torturing,
seducing or otherwise influencing the gooed character via touch. In
addition, anytime a character wearing this goo is hurt in combat, the
sensation is so overwhelming that they must make an Intellect check
against a Difficulty of 4 or pass out for 1d6 minutes. This goo last 14
hours + 2d6 hours.
X-ray goo is translucent green and glows with a cold electric light.
It allows others to inspect the internels of whatever or whoever is
covered. It lowers by one the Difficulty of any task where such x-ray
vision could be useful, such as picking locks, diagnosing disease or
internal injuries, or the like. It lasts four hours.
Once smeared on a body, this opaque goo writhes with brilliant colors
in wild, mind-bending patterns. The colors and patterns appear to be
affected by the mood of the wearer, but just how isn’t entirely clear.
Wearing this good impedes the vision of the wearer not at all, but it
can be an asset in public performance tasks.
Whatever this goo was originally designed to do, it’s toxic to most
life in the Ninth World. Anyone wearing this goo (which comes in a
variety of colors) immediately suffers a wound equal to the level of the
goo and then another every 5 minutes they continue to wear the stuff.
Removing this goo is often (50% of the time) easy, but the rest of the
time it’s a Might task with a Difficulty of 4.
While wearing this white goo, you’ll never be too hot. Or too cold.
It keeps your body temperature constant, which for most people makes it
feel like it’s a pleasant spring day. It lasts 28 hours.
Form: a crystal and synth box six inches tall, 14 inches wide, and 16 inches deep.
this artifact has a panel on the top perforated with thousands of tiny,
octagonal holes. If a pound of organic matter is placed on that panel
it will start to “melt” into the machine while an array of holographic
controls will appear in the air over the machine. Using it to get the
goo you want is a Difficulty 7 Intellect challenge (anything that beats
Difficulty 3 will produce a tube of goo, just not necessarily the one
the user was trying to get).
[GM Intrusion: the machine spits out a goo with a completely blank label. The only way to learn what’s in it is to use it.]