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Cypher System Does Superheroes

Monte Cook Games' latest Kickstarter is for their Cypher System (the system which powers Numenera, amongst other things) and delves into the world of superheroes!

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This Kickstarter contains not one, but TWO heroic sourcebooks. Claim the Sky (224 pages) is all about superpowered heroes in a world called Boundless, while the shorter First Responders (128 pages) deals with human heroes in a dangerous world of natural disasters and war zones.

When disaster strikes or menace looms, the best among us don’t run from danger—they run toward it! Heroic books for the Cypher System.



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And if you don't have the core Cypher System rules, that's OK -- because they bundling in the Cypher System core rulebook in PDF format for free. In fact you can even download the free Cypher System rules primer now.

The Cypher System is a rule-light RPG designed for flexibility and speed. It contains a mechanic that I've always loved in any iteration I've seen it (indeed I've done it in my own games!) -- characters built off real sentences. In Cypher System it's a 3-part sentence. They gives examples like Rugged Warrior who Stands Like a Bastion and a Guarded Adept who Keeps a Magic Ally. Each part of that sentence is a building block of your character.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

The superheroes genre is a great potential gold-mine or cash-cow in the TTRPG industry, but potential players without previous experience don't like complex rules too much, and the challenge for the game designers is the right power balance. Some players want to be a street vigilante and others the cosmic champion who destroys alien ships with his own fists.

I wonder about Marvel, DC and other comic publishers creating alternate timelines with different power scales, (lots of characters to be very nerfed, nothing of throwing cars as basket balls) to allow an easier adaptation not only into TTRPG but mainly videogames. Fandom has got too many ideas about their own variants of superheroes franchises.

I have said someone of the future WotC's projects will be a d20 superheroes, but this being totally compatible with D&D without a break of power balance is very hard. I guess they will try a Gamma World with mutants (DNA altered by the new vaccines against the last epidemic outbreak), high-tech and superpowers (these not only an updated list of psionic powers).

Is it not cypher system the used for the coming soon Master of the Universe RPG?
 




Aldarc

Legend
It's increasingly difficult to feel enthused about MCG Kickstarters when so many have seemingly felt like selling re-used and re-packaged content (e.g., descriptors, foci, type abilities, etc.).
 




imagineGod

Legend
I am always impressed how Monte Cook Games just repackages older Monte Cook Kickstarters, not that old even, and yet the faithful fans of Monte Cook keep returning in droves throwing upwards of half a million Dollars.

This was the older super hero book for Cypher titled "Unmasked" that did not sell so well outside the Kickstarter, could not find it in any FLGS unlike Numenera, obviously.

 


Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I am always impressed how Monte Cook Games just repackages older Monte Cook Kickstarters, not that old even, and yet the faithful fans of Monte Cook keep returning in droves throwing upwards of half a million Dollars.

This was the older super hero book for Cypher titled "Unmasked" that did not sell so well outside the Kickstarter, could not find it in any FLGS unlike Numenera, obviously.


Thing is Unmasked is a setting - 80s teens build a mask that give them superpower. All the details in that are for that setting.

In the genre book they don't reprint any info (like what foci and such) that are in the core book - it's all new stuff. And the new book is half "this is how you run differrent types of superhero games, gritty, 4 color and in between". Then it has a settting that is more a standard supers have been around for generations setting, rather than something specific like masks.

Think of it like you have D&D rulebook, then theEberron setting book comes out, then a sourcebook on "how to run a fantasy game" came out and had a small setting info for greyhawk.
 

Their first round of genre books seemed more like 80% genre setting (though usually with a twist like Fantasy but with demigods, or supers but with psychedelic 80s, or SF with marooned time travelers) and some bits for a more generic game.

So far in this second round, these are much more genre primers and toolkit style rules and subgenre dials and a mini-setting with an adventure. From the ones already in print, Stay Alive, seems to be the best.
 


Sorry, I confused Cypher and Cortex. Do you know Monte Cook's "Unmasked"? The idea is interesting, maybe it should be a multimedia franchise, with novels, comics, some Netflix serie....(and why not?, Tales of the Loop is an action-live teleserie now)

Talking about superheroes RPGs I can't forget other titles as Aberrant by White Wolf (this is perfect for The Boys), Brave New World by Pinacle, or Champions, the one what had got its own MMO, Champion Online by Cryptic Studio. Spain also has her own RPG: Superheroes Inc. Some time ago it had got a crowdfunding for its last edition. I doubt it was translated into English. Maybe someday I will buy Tiny Supers for my niece when it was translated.

Do you know anything about the cancelled d20 Spectaculars by WotC? Sometimes I wonder about a variant rule for d20 where the PCs' power leveling up is (almost) frozen, but the players spend the "storytelling points" to unlock tiers of "talent paths". These would be as classes without bonus for attacks or save checks but only feats for things not linked with the battlefield (social interaction, jobs, crafting, investigation), that type of traits totally useless in a miniature wargame, but very useful in the fiction or storytelling work. This would allow games as an adaptation of DC super hero girls or another high school superheroes (for example Smallville).
 

Wrathamon

Adventurer
I dont know enough about cypher to know if it would be good for supers. I thought Mutants & Masterminds did a great job along with Champions.
 

Stacie GmrGrl

Adventurer
I sure hope it is self contained, though it would make the book a bit pregnant. Still, I do not like the D&D model of having the core rulebooks separate from the campaign setting for rare IPs like Masters of the Universe. Sort of why I liked the Hellboy Kickstarter that was all inclusive.
From everything I heard about it it will be a self contained game book.
 


Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I sure hope it is self contained, though it would make the book a bit pregnant. Still, I do not like the D&D model of having the core rulebooks separate from the campaign setting for rare IPs like Masters of the Universe. Sort of why I liked the Hellboy Kickstarter that was all inclusive.
Our tastes are very different. :D
I rarely use a published setting, I use homebrew - so I love systems that give me the rulebook, then a sourcebook with advice on the genre, and having settings is useful for ideas, but I hate having them baked in, because it makes it harder to remove rules to support the setting, rather than just the game.
 

DeviousQuail

Adventurer
I ran a dozen sessions using the superhero "power shift" rules from the Cypher Rulebook. It was a fun time. However, the power shifts make encounters much more difficult to create. The variance in player damage, armor, etc becomes much wider. It can trivialize some fights while making others nigh impossible to beat if one specific character goes down. Overall, the base rules did a fine job of creating a superhero feel.

I'm interested in seeing how these new offerings add onto the superhero genre. If it's just new foci, npcs, and items then I'd probably pass. It's too easy to create your own and there's enough superhero media out there to give me all the inspiration I need. But if they add some new mechanical concepts that make the game feel more superhero-like then I'd give it a try.
 

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