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The Cypher System[1] is a genre-agnostic role-playing game ruleset developed and published by Monte Cook Games. It provides the underpinning for games such as Numenera and Stars Are Fire, as well as being used as a standalone game for homebrew settings.

Core Concepts

The following summary of concepts is intended purely as an overview. For a detailed explanation of the mechanics, consult the Cypher System Rulebook, or an all-in-one core book such as Numenera: Discovery.

  • Character Sentence: Characters are defined as an Adjective Noun Who Verbs.
  • Stat pools power both abilities and represent a player character’s health: Might, Speed, and Intellect.
  • Effort: Player characters can spent points from their pools to ease a task’s difficulty.
  • Edge: Player characters can reduce the cost of special abilities/Effort by acquiring Edge.
  • Intrusions: GMs may offer XP to players in exchange for a GM Intrusion which typically adds a complication for the players, or players may spend XP to alter a story element to their favor in the given scene.
  • Cyphers: One-use powerful items that can be acquired during gameplay.

Cypher System Settings & Games

Examples of games and settings that utilize the Cypher System.

Published by Monte Cook Games

  • Numenera[2]: Post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post apocalyptic science fantasy.
  • The Strange[3]: Multi-genre dimension hopping and creation.
  • Stars Are Fire[4]: Science Fiction
  • Stay Alive[5]: Horror
  • We Are All Mad Here[6]: Fairy Tales
  • Godforsaken[7]: Fantasy
  • Predation[8]: Science Fiction with F@*king DINOSAURS
  • Gods of the Fall[9]: Heroic fantasy.
  • Ptolus[10]: Fantasy setting compatible with both Cypher System and D&D 5E
  • Unmasked[11]: Teenage superheroes.
  • Claim the Sky: Upcoming superhero setting.
  • First Responders: Upcoming modern setting where players take on roles as first responders.
  • No Thank You Evil![12]: A family RPG designed for young players.

From Other Publishers

  • Shotguns & Sorcery[13]: A fantasy noir setting based on the novels of Matt Forbeck, published by Full Moon Press.
  • Vurt[14]: Cyberpunk setting based off of the Jeff Noon novel of the same name. Published by Ravendesk games.
  • Diamond Throne[15]: Upcoming adaptation of the Unearthed Arcana setting for Cypher System. Published by Here Be Dragons Games.
  • Hope’s Horizon[16]: A science-fiction setting published by Angel’s Citadel.