From Dust and Ash is the only known logfile of a group of explorers in the Ninth World of Numenera. The Ninth World is one of many reincarnations of the civilized world. It is colloquially known as the Ninth World, though it may as well be the 9000th World, for all anyone knows. Each of the previous eight worlds may have been distinct periods of civilization, but it is likely that periods have become amalgamated over time – especially as each period extends further away from the Ninth World’s time.

The Ninth World is at least a billion years removed from the First World, and all that remains of earlier worlds are random bits of refuse and long forgotten relics. With no known continuous archeological history connecting the Ninth World to any of the worlds that have come before, it is often difficult to discern between these “left overs” from the past. It is likely that most has been ground into a fine, dirt-like composite, which often replaces the topsoil for hundreds of miles in any direction.

Often, an intact remnant from the past will be found, and these remnants have become known as Artifacts, Cyphers, and Oddities. Their value, rarity and usefulness are often unknown to those that discover them, and rarely will they be used for their original purpose. These items will be adapted and used by their owners in the Ninth World, in a sort of techno-mechanical evolutionary process. Sometimes, it will be obvious how much power a particular remnant contains. At other times, the creativity of the user will extend an item’s power and value beyond its original understanding.

Those that seek out discoveries in the Ninth World are often richly rewarded, as great social, economic, and political value is placed in discoveries from the past. The more useful an item is, the more value it will have. The more rare a discovery, the more likely there is a buyer. However, since discovery is, in its own right, an inherent value, sometimes it may be difficult to let these relics from the past go for the scraps of shin that can be bargained for. And sometimes the item’s utility is called forth to aid its owner before it can be offered into the market. But, with billions of years’ worth of remains out there, there is plenty more to be plucked from the dust and ash.

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From the Dust and Ash: The Ninth World of Numenera