Saturday, August 20, 2022

Bloomed Earth Changes to Cypher - Part 1

First off, the Cypher SRD is Christmas in July with Thanksgiving and Halloween ladled on top. It is a very generous document compared to several other SRDs out there. Frankly, I don’t know if I could do what I wanted with my projects without all the goodies MCG give us.

The Bloomed Earth playtest is out now and some folks are curious the changes I’ve proposed for Cypher. Well, some are bold and some are subtle. The goals for my designs for Bloomed Earth were to stretch the envelope of what people expect Cypher to do and even hopefully surprise some Cypher doubters.
That said, I am not “fixing” the game. In the bygone times, many a fantasy rpg on the market was simply a “fixed” version of D&D. We called them fantasy heartbreakers. Bloomed Earth is not a Cypher heartbreaker.
At bird’s eye view, what is Cypher System? It is a highly cinematic game that is very plug and play for GMs who like worldbuilding before the campaign begins and lets them easily improv during play. For players, it gives a sense of competent, fantastical characters. It can handle the less grandiose with a more curated list of Type and Focus abilities.

The Power of Names

For Cypher fans they’ve noticed I’ve broken out artifacts and Cyphers as Lost Tech, Hyphae and Inspirations.
Cypher gives the great GMing advice to reskin/rename what you need. It is a time honored tradition that goes back to games like Champions, a superhero game that easily became a universal system where laser finger could just as easily be a flame spell.
For many players, though, their sense of disbelief needs a boost. I’ve used more than one superhero game as a generic system to only have it voted down by players who said they felt weird using the game for fantasy or science fiction. Many gamers feel that fantasy gaming should only be played with D&D OR any edition of D&D should be only for fantasy (don’t tell the long-standing Mutants and Masterminds which was also used for DC Heroes.) It is also where the desire to see psionics use different mechanics than magic in D&D or other games.
So for me, there’s lots of anecdotal evidence that changing the names of Cypher mechanics may open some eyes. It even happened to me while designing as Artifacts became Lost Tech. I wasn’t even finishing typing the Lost Tech section out when it occurred to we could assign repair skills to these artifacts to further the theme of jury rigged surviaval. 

Skills/Reduced Pool Points

For the CSR, there is a suggested skill set and a slightly different implied one throughout the Abilities section. The importance of a skills varies between genres but I think both Bloomed Earth and MFPNP: RPG benefit with a more granulated list. Skills also give Cypher characters a chance to shine … and set them up to spend recovery rolls later on.

Skills and Tiers

These become even more important with less pool points to spend, along with helping keep the power level of the game capped.
In point buy systems, the easiest way to tweak the power level is adjust the total budget for character abilities. And as I have mentioned a previous post, tiers are not levels, per se but a a clever way to purchase abilities while avoiding a point buy/ladder requirements as well as math. Thus by capping the game at Tier 3 and making advancements more expensive, we essentially done the same as capping the total character buy.
Next week we'll drop another load of changes and the whys for such things. 
You can check out the playtest version of Bloomed Earth here.
Go, Ganza, go!

No comments:

Post a Comment