Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cypher System: Cypher Points

One of the major complaints I've encountered on various forums about the Cypher System is utilizing cyphers in games where they don't necessarily fit into the setting (in other words, games that aren't Numenera).

Personally, I love the possibilities that cyphers bring to the table and think many elements can be woven in with the right attitudes.

The Cypher System Rulebook gave us Subtle Cyphers which is an excellent solution, but I've been brainstorming another method:

Essentially, in place of actual cyphers, you are given Cypher Points (Warriors, Explorers, and Spearkers start with 2; Adepts start with 3).  At any time, the player may use their action to spend a Cypher Point and draw a cypher card from the deck (you have 2 or 3 cyphers to choose from) or randomly roll 2 cyphers (a quick method would be to read the dice both ways, so if I roll a 71, I also read it as a 17).  The player must then choose 1 of the cyphers and explain how it occurs within the game (I decided the choice of 2 or 3 cyphers would give them more freedom in integrating the effects into the story), and discard the card if they are using the deck.  Optionally, if the player doesn't have a good explanation, the GM can make them roll 2d6 and take the lowest die when determining the Level of the cypher.

Basically, which this option the cyphers are cool actions, quick thinking, special effects of their powers, or good fortune that flow from the story and not devices.  

It's also up to the GM how often their points refresh, but I would keep them flowing fast and loose like traditional cyphers.

I don't think I've seen this approach for cyphers taken, but I don't think I'm reinventing the wheel here, so if this isn't that fresh an idea, I apologize.

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