The Hotness
Games|People|Company
Legacy of Dragonholt
OSR Solo
Star Crossed
Disciples of Bone & Shadow: Core Rules
Ironsworn
Art and Arcana: A Visual History
Thousand Year Old Vampire
Highfell
D&D Essentials Kit
Angmar: Land of the Witch King
Ars Magica (5th edition)
Catapult Run
Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set
Player's Handbook (D&D 5e)
Darkly Through the Labyrinth
Numenera: Starter Set
The Tragedy of GJ 237b
Beamswords and Bazookas
Bob, Lord of Evil Gamemaster Screen
Drowning and Falling
Microscope
Out of the Abyss
Dark Streets 2nd Edition
Robert E. Howard's Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of
The Breached Fortress of Anoros
A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island
The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition
Legend of the Five Rings RPG: Core Rulebook
Strange Adventures!: The House on Poplar Court
Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to Combat
Spookshow
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook
The Great Pendragon Campaign
Gamma World Roleplaying Game
The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game, Volume 1: Your Story
Dungeon Master's Kit
Fate Core System
The One Ring Roleplaying Game
Dungeon Master's Guide (D&D 5e)
The Rise of Tiamat
The Strange
The Secrets of Cats
Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Boxed Set (Second Edition)
Storm King's Thunder
TimeWatch
Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide
Adventurer's Companion
Bree
Tomb of Annihilation
Building Tomorrow
Internet rage goon
United States
Altadena
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Thanks to ctimmins for the image!

“Generic” RPGs are interesting phenomena. They have always been popular, to one extent or another, but the massive surge of d20 games in the early part of this century caused a backlash against such systems, with much of the community arguing that the mechanics of a game must closely match the story being told. The past couple of years have, arguably, seen a resurgence of the generic approach - or at least sort of generic, with the Fate and Powered by the Apocalypse systems spawning a metric ton of settings and worlds, and Savage Worlds filling a more traditionally generic role. (Though it must be noted that the first two systems are so customizable that cousin systems may be nearly unrecognizable.)

Numenera was one of the smash hits of 2013, and it was immediately described as, if not a generic system, a core mechanic similar to d20 that could support many games. In summer 2015, Monte Cook Games released the Cypher System as a standalone product. It presents the core system along with options and discussions of the five most obvious RPG genres: fantasy, sci-fi, modern, horror, and supers.

Like other generic systems, the Cypher System doesn’t actually pretend to do everything. It has some clear distinguishing features and goals which determine both whether it’s a good system for you and whether it matches every genre. In this review, I’ll discuss those goals and whether the distinguishing features of the system actually support them.

A note about my experience: This is primarily a reading review. I’ve played one play-by-forum/play-by-post game of Numenera but haven’t used the generic system presented here.

The Product

The Cypher System rulebook is available in both hardcover and pdf; I have the latter and will be reviewing it. The 418-page, full-color pdf is very nicely presented, with the production values you expect from a major RPG company. It is lavishly illustrated, with nice art, and a simple, clean layout. (The most “innovative” part is the marginal notes, usually short bits of advice or references to rules descriptions.) The editing is top-notch, and it’s very easy to read. The pdf itself is also fully bookmarked and hyperlinked, with references to rules explanations easy to follow. My one gripe is with the index, which is all but useless, unless you are simply looking for a Focus (but since they’re listed alphabetically in a single chapter, there’s really no need to check the index…).

The Core Mechanic

The Cypher System has a simple basic mechanism. Every object, creature, and task in the game has a level from 1-10. To affect the object or creature in any way, a player makes a d20 roll. If that d20 roll meets or exceeds the difficulty, which is three times the target’s level, the PC succeeds.

Of course, various effects can make the task easier; nearly always these decrease the difficulty. The most common modifiers are skill training, assets (situational advantages), and effort (see below). Occasionally, though, PCs will have small bonuses to their roll, and some other effects reduce the difficulty without technically being assets.

PCs have three stat pools: Might, Speed, and Intellect. These function both as hit points and as resource pools to power special talents (unique to each character) and effort (reducing the difficulty of tasks). This resource management is a crucial part of the game.

There’s one other wrinkle: the Cypher System includes critical hits and failures on high and low rolls. These effects are situational, though they have relatively well-defined consequences in combat. A critical failure is an instance of a more general mechanic called a GM intrusion, in which the GM can introduce complications to the story (more on those below as well).

Rich Character Generation?

The Cypher System is lauded for its fun, simple approach to character creation. Each character is defined by a sentence:

[PC’s name] is an adjective noun who verb.

Player’s have three key decision points:
• The noun is the character’s type: basically their class. The Cypher System has four choices: adept, explorer, speaker, and warrior. Each provides a stat array, some background fluff, and a basic suite of powers. At each tier, characters can choose a number of abilities from a menu specific to each class, including skill training, magical spells or other special tricks, etc. These are the relatively generic utility powers that any character might want.
• The adjective is the descriptor: brash, strong, craven, noble, etc. This is the least important of the three parts mechanically, providing some mixture of a small stat boost, skill training, minor abilities, and equipment. Though most of these descriptors relate to personality elements, note that there is no mechanical enforcement of that descriptor during play. It’s just a way to adjust the mechanics of a PC to (supposedly) complement that vision.
• The verb is the focus, basically a specialization. These are the fun, flavorful parts of the character, though they are less important than the type. Possibilities range from looks for trouble to is idolized by millions to rides the lightning. Obviously, this is the part that will require the most editing by the GM to match the setting and tone of the game. Foci provide single, specialized powers at each character tier, though there’s also a menu of more generic stat boosts etc. to choose instead if you prefer.

The compact, clear description of each character is one of the strengths of the Cypher System. It’s an elegant structure that provides a great deal of customization without an overwhelming number of individual choices: there are a ton of options here as well as guidelines for creating more. The simplicity of the underlying system keeps these options more-or-less balanced in a mechanical sense.

And yet…at the end of the character creation section, I was much less satisfied than I had expected. Part of this was the sheer length of this part - 175 pages of information. To be fair, that’s because there are so many options for the three basic slots, but it is still fairly overwhelming.

On a deeper level, though, there are some problematic elements. The first are the foci, some of which promise far more than they deliver to beginning characters. For example, if I describe my character as one who separates mind from body, I want a character who does that right away! But the first tier power merely allows you to create a distant sensor. This is the “prestige class problem” from the third edition of D&D: it’s no fun to build a character concept around a cool idea…and then have to wait twelve sessions before that concept can actually be realized. In general this is more of an issue with the gonzo foci: the simpler ones, like infiltrates are much easier to realize.

A second problem is the integration of story into the character creation process. Each component adds a bit character background: the types contain tables of background snippets, the descriptors contain menus of adventure hooks, and the foci describe potential connections with the other PCs. The first two of these vary from mildly interesting to generic, but at least they get the players thinking in creative directions. The third, however, is very problematic. Some of these are perfectly fine - for example, the PC who controls gravity accidentally made another PC fall from a great height. But many violate what I consider a fairly sacred part of RPGs - your control over your character. For example:
Quote:
Choose one other PC. He is terrified by your rage and can’t help but flee at inopportune times.

The problem here is that it can force another player to revise their PC concept - it’s not an event that connects them but rather a personality trait. This is hardly uncommon in the book, and I find it remarkably transgressive.

This is, I suppose, one of the ways in which the Cypher System supposedly bridges the gap between traditional and “indie” RPGs. And it’s true that character creation in some of those systems - such as Dungeon World and its bonds system - involves interactions between those characters. But, in the examples I’ve seen, it’s handled much more gently than in Cypher System, allowing negotiation, incentives, or freedom to work out the details yourself. The Cypher System doesn’t explicitly provide any of these, and it set off some real alarm bells to me (especially since there isn’t even a cursory discussion of the issue!).


He exists in two places at once. This trick you can pull off at character creation.

A Game About Exploration?

My third problem with character generation points toward a more significant issue with the system. We are told repeatedly in the text that the Cypher System is a game about exploration and discovery. But do the mechanics support that? One key element - the awarding of XP for discovery, rather than defeating enemies - certainly does. But the elements of characters do no more to support that theme than those in D&D, for example. I’d estimate that 2/3 or more of the special abilities are primarily useful in combat. Even a focus like calculates the incalculable uses 1/3 of its special ability slots on combat abilities.

The non-combat abilities feel more or less like D&D magical spells to me - cute tricks, but nothing around which one can base a game. Lots of them allow you to make a roll to ask a question of the GM. This falls somewhere between the GUMSHOE principle of granting PCs information when they spend resources and the Powered by the Apocalypse games, which often have specific moves to trigger these questions. But the former automatically grants information when you spend resources, while the latter carries a risk when you want to ask questions. The Cypher System has neither of these elements - just the risk of spending resources for no useful information - so discovery feels like a chore rather than an exciting part of the game.

As mentioned earlier, it is true that XP is supposed to be awarded for discovery, but there’s no specific mechanic for that (other than the awarding of XP for finding artifacts). Moreover, characters advance in abilities rather quickly in the Cypher System. While these advances mostly broaden a character’s capabilities rather than make rolls easier, any game with rapid character advancement inevitably fuels a focus on advancement for its own sake. Given the variety of powers available as characters increase in tier, this emphasis is as strong in the Cypher System as in any other game I’ve seen (even D&D).

Of course, Cypher System games can be about exploration. So can (and probably should) any RPG…but I don’t find anything in the mechanics to support that goal in particular. It would be easy (but probably not much fun) to fall into playing the Cypher System as a combat-focused dungeon crawl, for example.

I love the idea of a game focused on exploration, and I work hard to incorporate it into my games…but I’ll keep looking for one with strong mechanics to support that focus (though see below for one aspect that does this well).

Resource Management

Resource management is a crucial issue in the Cypher System: the PCs’ stat pools are both their “hit points” and the fuel for both their special abilities and Effort spent to reduce the difficulty of tasks. So any interesting power you perform puts you at a higher risk of defeat later on. The system is fairly forgiving - it’s pretty quick to recover stat pools, and there are Edge stats to cut down on costs for abilities.

Personally, I dislike games that do this: I prefer freewheeling adventure over the fear that I might be overstepping. Of course, there always needs to be some kind of risk in a game - but sacrificing a PC’s health to fuel their basic powers creates a very direct feedback cycle that encourages careful play and discourages over-reliance on fancy abilities. There’s also the risk of failure on a roll, even after spending points on Effort, which I fine immensely frustrating. The cost will always weigh on you - as the book says, new players will typically be too miserly with their pools, because it feels like there’s a death spiral in front of you, should you try to do too much with a character.

Another example of resource management is the XP system. XP is used to advance characters, but it can also be spent in play, to either gain a re-roll or to ward off GM intrusions (see below). In this case there’s a balance between immediate reward (or, in the case of a re-roll, a chance at an immediate reward!) and long-term benefit. Given that it only takes a relatively small number of XP to advance (4 for a minor boost, with four such boosts equalling a new tier), there seems little motivation to me in spending XP during play, aside from the most dire circumstances.

This emphasis on resource management is a stylistic choice of which you should be aware - one that cuts against my own preferences but is nonetheless perfectly reasonable.

Cyphers, WTF?

There’s one other aspect to resource management: Cyphers. These are, as the name implies, nominally at the center of the entire game - and yet, mechanically, they are entirely optional and rather ill-defined.

A cypher is simply a single-use magic item, tech, drug, flash of inspiration, etc. that either enhances a particular ability or provides a new capability. Characters are only allowed to have a limited number of them, and the idea is that new ones will be found often enough that PCs can cycle through them pretty quickly. This is fun, because these are “new” powers, without any downside except consuming them. And it provides a great deal of variety - and a sense of exploration as these Cyphers are discovered.

Cyphers first appeared in Numenera, where they are relics of long-lost civilizations. But…how does one fit these into any setting, as a generic system supposedly supports? In a fantasy game, it’s fairly obvious - though it requires a high magic setting with lots of potions etc. In a Cthulhu-esque game, one can imagine spells and incantations. In a spy game, they might be gadgets - if you imagine spies discovering series of gadgets throughout an operation. But what about a more conventional horror game? Or a superhero game? Or a more straight-up modern or historical setting?

The book doesn’t address this question directly; the only answer it provides is the idea of subtle cyphers, which are one-shot abilities that don’t have a physical form. They might be a flash of inspiration or some such. The problem is that flashes of inspiration don’t appear and then wait an indeterminate amount of time to use them! It also limits the “coolness” factor - as they aren’t flashy powers but, usually, simple things that refresh stat pools or provide a minor edge.

I’ve heard multiple people say that the Cypher System would work just fine without the cyphers. The text insists otherwise, but I’m inclined to agree: these are a cool part of some settings, but they aren’t integral to the game. That said, they are fun, and genres that don’t lend themselves to cyphers are ones I’d be much less likely to use with this game.

Genres

Which brings us back to the generic approach taken here. The book presents character creation and then the core rules before moving on to chapters on each of five genres: fantasy, modern, science fiction, horror, and superheroes. Each chapter contains a couple of pages of general advice , lists of types, foci, foes, and equipment appropriate to the setting, and, when appropriate, a few artifacts (or major “magic” items).

An example of a solid treatment is the horror chapter, which contains a couple of optional rules appropriate to the genre. These are small shifts to the game’s core rules, but they manage to convey a strong tone without disrupting the system.

The rest of the chapters leave me cold, full of unresolved questions about how to do this better. They address the contents of the genres but (aside from the horror example) ignore their tropes and how to integrate them into the game. For example, the Cypher System has a fair amount of character advancement, which isn’t appropriate to many genres (like superheroes). There’s no mention of the problem, much less the obvious solutions. Instead we get lists of foci that are appropriate to the genre…something an average player could have come up with in about five minutes.

Cyphers are a bigger problem, as they seem to me the hardest part of the game to port into many settings - but there is zero mention of them in these chapters. It’s a point where the text fails pretty badly (and it isn’t addressed adequately in the later chapter on Cyphers, either).

It may be that they plan to produce sourcebooks for different genres in the future. I think those would be all but essential if you are keen on long-term play with the Cypher System, or unless you really enjoy doing your homework as GM in designing the game.


The Cypher System kaiju! She's level 10.

GM Overload

That said, the Cypher System makes an effort to lighten the GM’s load, especially during play. The most obvious manifestation is that the GM doesn’t roll dice in the Cypher System. In general, the players roll the dice a GM would have rolled in another traditional system - for example, the GM doesn’t roll attacks for antagonists, instead the players roll for defense against those attacks.

The system has two purposes. First, “players always drive the action” (according to page 193). Even when defending, they are rolling to get out of the way, rather than the monster rolling to hit them. Second, it reduces the “overhead” on the GM, freeing their mind for the real work of GMing….

I think the second goal is in the eye of the beholder: it may or may not simplify life for you as a GM. For me, it doesn’t - I’d rather just make a roll than explain to the player that they should roll for defense and then wait for them to do so, for example. To me it really isn’t a big deal either way, because it isn’t decreasing the number of rolls.

The first goal, I think, is a failure. The fact is that the Cypher System plays just like any other traditional RPG: it’s the GM’s world, the players are just moving through it. They may or may not drive the Big Story, but they certainly don’t drive the moment-to-moment action - they are reacting to the trap triggering, which in no way drives the story forward.

Compare the system here with that of Powered by the Apocalypse games (where the GM also does not roll dice). In the latter, the player’s roll determines both the PC’s success and the antagonist’s (or world’s) reaction to that attempt. In combat, a partial success means that both the PC and their antagonist suffer damage, for example (with some mitigating factors). Crucially, failed rolls are the only points at which the antagonists can move forward in their plans. In this case, the players really are driving the action forward.

In the Cypher System, in contrast, NPCs can do whatever they want, whenever they want, subject to the GM’s better judgment. Their plans can progress offscreen as fast as “necessary” for the GM’s adventure. It is simply that, when those NPC actions intersect with the PCs, the players roll dice to see what happens, rather than the GM. It’s a shift in bookkeeping, not in philosophy.

That shift can, however, lead to some confusion. Suppose the PCs are trying to aid the incantatrix, who is battling an evil warlock behind a horde of minions. As the PCs advance through the horde, the incantatrix and warlock battle in front of them. How is the GM to resolve that battle between NPCs? The book recommends comparing their levels (which works only if you aren’t following the action round-by-round) or having a player roll for the NPC (which, again, just shifts bookkeeping).

There are a couple of other tools that potentially make the GM’s life easier. First, cyphers (as the book points out) are an effective way to give the players some convenient one-shot abilities that progress the story - sort of like how GUMSHOE games automatically provide clues. The second is the GM intrusion, which is when the GM inserts a complication into the story. This can happen in two ways: when a player rolls a 1 on an action or when the GM offers a deal, giving two PCs XP in exchange for introducing the complication. (Actually, the GM gives 2 XP to a player, who must then pass one off to someone else.) Alternatively, the player can pay an XP to avoid the intrusion.

Intrusions are therefore somewhere between the age-old critical fumble/botch mechanic and a compel from Fate. (In the latter, the GM can “compel” a PC to make a dangerous or undesirable choice related to one of a character’s narrative Aspects by paying them a Fate point, which can be traded in for a later bonus during play.) I don’t think many RPG veterans would have a problem with the botch part of things, though it’s worth noting that the scope of the subsequent intrusion can be much larger than a typical fumble affecting a single PC. The other component is both more and less transgressive than Fate’s compel: intrusions don’t (normally) manifest themselves as “forcing” a PC to do something, but they can be just about anything else, with no particular limit on the GM’s authority. The examples in the book use these to amp up danger during encounters and also to “encourage” (on pain of character debility) the PCs to return to a town where the GM has sent up an adventure they have previously bypassed.

The latter example is the kind of thing a GM determined to railroad their players would do; the intrusion mechanic provides cover for doing so, and it gives the PCs a reward for subjecting themselves to it. It provides a tool for guiding the story toward the GM’s prep or vision. I’m not sure that’s an entirely good thing, though. Providing cover for what many (including myself) regard as poor GM practice isn’t really good design. I don’t really think that’s what the intrusion is meant to do - or at least not all of what it is meant to do - but the text’s discussion allows all sorts of uses, and ultimately the intrusion mechanic makes me uncomfortable. It’s the kind of thing a good GM can use well but isn’t described well enough to make good GMs.

But don’t forget about combat!

Although the Cypher System wants to focus on exploration, it hardly ignores combat. As mentioned earlier, a very large fraction of character abilities relate to combat in one way or another, so there’s a clear expectation that combat is an important part of the game. The combat sequence is a streamlined version of D&D: initiative, everyone takes an action, rinse and repeat. It is not a tactical game, though: there’s certainly no grid, though there are abstracted distances and locations.

That said, in the game I played combat wasn’t terribly fast. PCs and monsters have reasonably large health pools, compared to the typical damage dealt. Combat seemed to drag on longer than I wanted, with a lot of dice rolling (remember, players have to roll for both attack and defense!) and not enough meaningful decisions. Fast, abstract combat is fine, and longer, tactically-rich combat is fine, but this lies somewhere in the awkward middle ground.

A combat game needs enemies, and that’s a difficult proposition for a generic system. But the Cypher System does a good job: in addition to a few “filler” NPCs, it has a 60-page bestiary that fills in many of the basics (robots and goblins) but also has some cool and surprising creatures (like the dream sallow). Monster stats are pretty simple - there are just a few, with default values set by the monster’s level - so it should be easy to make your own enemies. But the selection here is much stronger than I expected for a generic game.

The Math

Finally, I want to circle back to the core system. The task difficulty is set in a slightly odd way. First, the GM decides on a level from 1-10. The player can then reduce that level in a variety of ways (skill training, situational assets, or Effort). The GM then multiplies the level by three to set a base difficulty. The player then rolls a d20: exceeding the target number is a success. (There are also some special cases in which the roll gets a bonus of +1 or +2, but they are pretty rare.)

The multiplication part makes this seem unnecessarily complicated: while the probabilities can’t be reproduced exactly without multiplying (especially if you include the rare bonuses), you could come pretty close with a 1d6 vs. level, without the multiplication. I don’t think multiplying by three is a big deal, but it’s an extra little step that just strikes me as slightly inelegant and obfuscatory.

The key part of the game rules is setting that difficulty in the first place, which is the purview of the GM. This is a strength of the system: there’s a lot of advice on how to set the level, and the 1-10 system is fairly intuitive. The book seems an intentional reaction to the “rule for everything” approach that Cook’s D&D 3E took, and it succeeds in a fairly streamlined system.

The Bottom Line

The Cypher System is not the game for me - you’ve probably figured that out by now. Some of my objections are personal (the emphasis on the resource-management death spiral) while others stem from stretching the game too thin. The system bills itself as a modern compromise between option-rich traditional games and narrative mechanics borrowed from story games. That is a mixture that should appeal to me, but instead I just see where the game falls short on both ends:
• The game claims to be about exploration but still spends most of its time on combat abilities (though combat is too long to be interesting to me).
• Character creation is fun but fails to live up to some of its promises. It also introduces story elements but violate the implicit social contract of RPGs while doing so.
• The “cypher” part of the system feels tacked on and unnecessary in many genres - but its one of the most interesting parts so one wonders how generic the system really is.
• GM intrusions institutionalize poor GM practices rather than offer a well-defined mechanism to introduce complications.
• The “players always drive the action” claim is false. Rolling all the dice doesn’t give them any more agency than they have in D&D.
• The discussions of individual genres are so bare bones as to be nearly useless.

Some of these objections are, I suppose, more about presentation than the system itself. It is a streamlined and (almost) intuitive game that runs fast but has some depth to it, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with cyphers or barring the GM from rolling dice. But, like character creation, the book fails to live up to some of its own promises once you actually look at the mechanics. With all the elegant RPG systems and design theory around today, the Cypher System fails to meet the bar. Instead, it feels like it took some clever ideas from “story games” and grafted them onto a stripped-down d20 base, mixed it up with some cyphers without truly assimilating the result to make it all cohere together.

The Cypher System isn't a bad game, in that it won't fight against a good GM. But it isn't a good game that will elevate an average idea into an excellent one, either - even with all the work you'll put in crafting the rules and character options you need to localize the generic system. And it isn’t a system I’d ever bother to run.
41 
 Thumb up
6.31
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
DMSamuel
United States
Wurtsboro
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
RPGMusings.com
badge
Currently Playing 2 games: Star Wars Edge of the Empire and Labyrinth Lord (Barrowmaze)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent review, as always.

It's interesting, I agree with much of what you say, but don't have quite the negative view of the system as you do.

I haven't looked very closely at the Cypher System rule book - I've been mostly focused on the system as written in Numenera - I wonder if that makes the difference? I do think the system isn't well-suited to the horror genre - there are systems that really do that much better and I would see no reason to use the Cypher System instead of one of those. I don't play superhero RPGs so I can't really tell, but I suspect it is similar to my horror genre feeling.

I wonder if my opinion will change after a play through? Since I am staying in a gamma-world-esque science fantasy setting, I think Numenera will be well suited to the type of game I will be running... After reading your review I am fairly convinced that the system probably isn't truly suited to be a generic system. I wonder if the core system book was a response to fans more than a burning desire on the part of the designers?
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mexico
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
lorddillon wrote:
Excellent review, as always.

It's interesting, I agree with much of what you say, but don't have quite the negative view of the system as you do.

I haven't looked very closely at the Cypher System rule book - I've been mostly focused on the system as written in Numenera - I wonder if that makes the difference? I do think the system isn't well-suited to the horror genre - there are systems that really do that much better and I would see no reason to use the Cypher System instead of one of those. I don't play superhero RPGs so I can't really tell, but I suspect it is similar to my horror genre feeling.

I wonder if my opinion will change after a play through? Since I am staying in a gamma-world-esque science fantasy setting, I think Numenera will be well suited to the type of game I will be running... After reading your review I am fairly convinced that the system probably isn't truly suited to be a generic system. I wonder if the core system book was a response to fans more than a burning desire on the part of the designers?


Indeed, another great review by Steve

I agree with what was said in the review, and I too find it strange (no pun intended) that I like the way Numenera and the Strange work using the cypher system, but to me, the system itself falls flat as a universal tool when dealing with other genres and stories.

It sounds logical that the system could have been a response to what some fans asked for, as Monte Cook Games has been known to mold their products, too much at times, because of fan response; kinda like when the Nibovian wife thing that happened at rpgnet, after that, Numenera supplements became increasingly politically correct in the case of Love & Sex in the Ninth World, In Strange Aeons and the cover of Weird Discoveries; that last one has a bit of a cringe-worthy description, because it tags Monte as a legendary game designer. Seriously, naming yourself like that on your own company product??

Either way, I still like the Cypher system as a vehicle for Numenera and Strange adventures, probably because it was born to tell that kind of stories. Using it with other themes could be somewhat of a challenge.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
DMSamuel
United States
Wurtsboro
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
RPGMusings.com
badge
Currently Playing 2 games: Star Wars Edge of the Empire and Labyrinth Lord (Barrowmaze)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Stone Dwarf wrote:
kinda like when the Nibovian wife thing that happened at rpgnet, after that, Numenera supplements became increasingly politically correct...

I don't know - I feel like the Nibovian Wife was the anomaly. Most of the rest of the book was very sensitive to sex and gender issues. It makes sense to me that the rest of their products will be sensitive to those issues as well.


Stone Dwarf wrote:
...Weird Discoveries; that last one has a bit of a cringe-worthy description, because it tags Monte as a legendary game designer. Seriously, naming yourself like that on your own company product??
Yeah, that seems weird, but they do have a good marketing crew, so it probably wasn't Monte himself actually writing that.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Internet rage goon
United States
Altadena
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I do wonder how much the attempt to "genericize" the system exposes its flaws...I haven't read The Strange, and I've only read bits and pieces of Numenera, so it is possible my impression would be different if I'd started with the system as originally intended and embedded within a setting that is pretty cool.

lorddillon wrote:
Yeah, that seems weird, but they do have a good marketing crew, so it probably wasn't Monte himself actually writing that.

On the other hand, he did name the company after himself, so it's not like he's shy about self-promotion....
11 
 Thumb up
0.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.