Cychosys is intended to be a new method of roleplaying that emphasizes characters over mechanics. It retains a single game mechanic throughout most of its functions. A design goal was to limit the mathematics involved during play. Cychosys does not use "hit points" to track damage to characters.
Character creation is flexible but also quite complex. Characters start with 80-100 experience points which are then spent during character creation. Characters first spend points to buy "Levels" in Skills and Finesse. Next, Tricks, Weapons, and Equipment are purchased. Finally, a character purchases Trademarks. Based on the final version, another round of modifications may be needed, as well as numerous computations to generate the characters statistics.
The core mechanic divides all tasks into seven categories (Trivial, Simple, Average, Tough, Remarkable, Fantastic, Legendary) and assigns a score, 1-100, to the task. Resolution is determined by 1d12 plus possible modifier. The 1d12 roll is interpreted in a non-standard way, however, with both 11 and 12 counting as zero but 11 signalling success (a "surge") and twelve signalling failure (a "crash"). In both cases the character earns an experience point. A roll of 1 is called a "nit" but otherwise is used as normal.
During combat characters sustain injury to one of three Facets (Physical, Mental, Emotional) using a mechanism called "Hit Pools" and "Fatigue Pools". Hit and Fatigue Pools are fairly complex to generate, taking input from several character aspects. Sustaining damage will result in reduced performance in a specified Facet according to a Wounding Effects List. While a design goal was to avoid Hit Points, the replacement system is functionally similar and simultaneously very complicated, if nuanced. Roughly half of the character sheet is set aside for Hit Pool tracking.
The Cychosys Manual is presented as an HTML document with an Introduction and ten Chapters and a Character Sheet. Note that Chapter 10 was never completed. A basic Character Sheet is provided, and at one time an internet support forum existed.