Darcy & Troy explore the GM Intrusion, a core Cypher System storytelling mechanic, from both the player and gamemaster perspectives.
0:34 Artifact: Gamemaster (GM) Intrusion
- Definition: A GM Intrusion is a mechanic in the Cypher System, where the GM creates a complication for a character, offering 2 experience points (XP), one to keep, and one to give to another player. The player can accept the Intrusion and the XP, or pay 1 XP to reject it.
- 1:12 Numenera Glimmer Taking the Narrative by the Tail, which has great advice on GM Intrusions and some specific examples for Numenera
- 1:27 Example GM Intrusions
- 3:22 Troy: GM Intrusions from the GM Perspective
- GM Intrusions force you to complicate the story in interesting ways
- They act as a mechanical excuse to break the rules for good storytelling reasons
- They encourage the GM to be thinking of interesting complications and to respond to player actions in interesting ways
- The ability for players to reject the intrusion can communicate to the GM what your players like or dislike
- Darcy’s Two Shins: Being on the lookout for good GM Intrusions can ensure you don’t get into a storytelling rut – you’re always looking for the next turn in the story
- 7:30 Darcy: GM Intrusions from the Player Perspective
- For first time players, GM Intrusions can come across as scary – Darcy often makes her first one silly or fairly benign, with the goal to communicate that GM Intrusions will be interesting, not always bad
- Players look forward to these before long
- GM Intrusions make failure fun for players. This can lead to more diverse roleplaying than you’d get if you were always trying to “win” the game. However, players sometimes go overboard and want to fail all the time
- The distribution of XP on a GM Intrusion takes the sting/bummer out of the complication, keeps energy moving forward
- The mechanic of giving 1 XP from a GM Intrusion to a fellow player reminds you to focus on the people around you, get out of your own character headspace. Promotes cooperation
- GM Intrusions can manipulate the energy at the table. They can speed up a languishing conversation and refocus the table. They can also be used to bring player attention to something they’re about to miss – “there’s something cool here!”. Players still have the chance to ignore it, or pay the XP to say nothing bad happens
- Troy’s Two Shins
- Having something physical to signal a GM Intrusion to your players is really helpful to not break the flow of storytelling while still signaling to them. Generally, these are XP cards or tokens to represent the 2 XP being offered – Monte Cook Games has very nice decks for the Cypher System, Numenera, and the Strange.
- Look to your players for ideas on GM Intrusions, especially when they roll a 1. They’ll be creative and invested in the idea.
- 14:08 Troy: “Hacking the Cypher System – Reactive Cyphers” from Inspiration Strikes by Marc Plourde
- 15:18 Darcy: “Races in a Cypher System Game” from CypherCaster Issue 04 by Jeremy Land