May 29 2017

Cypher Speak Episode 11: Level Up Your XP

CS-blank-250x250-webThe most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious

-Albert Einstein.

Darcy & Troy discuss the many uses of XP in the Cypher System, from the usual things like re-rolls & tiering up to things like adding narrative flavor, modifying Numenera, establishing NPC contacts or houses, and more.

Short-term Benefits:

  • The Cypher System Rulebook lists the following ideas for short-term benefits:
    • 1 XP: Re-roll any die roll, Decline a GM Intrusion
    • 2 XP: Gain training in a very focused skill, Gain short term use of an item or ability
  • Our other ideas:
    • 1 XP: Narrative flavor for a single scene
      • The shopkeeper has a tell that allows you to negotiate a better price.
      • You just happen to have a crowbar in your bag for opening this chest.
      • Modify the way a cypher works, staying with the original use of the device, but stretching it a little bit.
      • There is particular lighting in this warehouse fight that makes your character look really cool
    • 2 XP: Narrative flavor that lasts a bit longer
      • Characters are able to modify or add a new ability to an artifact, perhaps with a drawback kor additional depletion effects.
      • Recruit a friendly NPC that will help out the group for a short period of time, or is an expert in a specific field.
      • A temporary safe house.

Long-term Benefits:

  • The Cypher System Rulebook lists the following ideas for long-term benefits:
    • Familiarity: +1 to the die roll of a given task
    • Contact: Someone helpful to the party that can assist them over a period of time.
    • Home: A residence to call home.
    • Title: A title
    • Wealth: Characters come into some money
    • Artifact: Create an artifact
  • Some of our ideas:
    • Long-term benefits should have a long and impactful effect on your campaign.
      • Allow players to bring in someone from their backstory as a contact.
      • Modify an existing artifact to have additional properties. Sort of a legacy weapon feel, so you have an item that grows with you.
      • That creature you formed a bond with permanently becomes your companion animal.
      • Your tinkering with that device/piece of Numenera allows you to permanently have a Google Glass-like HUD that tells you some extra information of things you look like (Horizon Zero Dawn’s scan ability, for instance)
    • Refunds. If players invest in a long-term benefit and for some reason it’s not applicable anymore, you should consider refunding the XP they invested, or some portion of it.
      • Maybe the contact did work out. Maybe the Title became hollow, Maybe the GM burned your home to the ground. If for whatever reason something you invested 3 XP in no longer has value, or is taken away, think about softening the blow with additional XP. These types of things should be GM Intrusions at least, and Troy would consider giving a bonus XP to the affected player.


How do you use your XP in a Cypher System Game?  Let us know your thoughts!

Keep in touch & let us know your thoughts on the show or anything in the CypherSphere!

Thanks for all the support so far!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>