Monday, February 29, 2016

The Big 4 and the Cypher System


My burnout is in treatment, but I'm feeling better and working on more modest but happy projects. Mostly Cypher System and some OSR stuff to scratch my gaming itch.

But let's talk about my old post The Big 4 and The Cypher System Corebook.

You remember this old post?

I do. Anyrate to sum it up I stated there are 4 primary types of game styles that players interact with RPGs systems. The Fighter, The Taker, The Talker, and The Maker. And wouldn't you know it, those archtypes (more or less) are the 4 primary classes of the Cypher System core book!

The Fighter = The Fighter
The Talker = The Speaker
The Taker = The Explorer
The Maker = The Adapt

This isn't a 1:1 comparison, but it's damn close. It's nice to discover that the likes of Monte Cook games noticed the Big 4 in their own way and wrote it into a mechanic. Now I'm going to point out a few things.

First no ONE of the 4 classes from Cypher System are 100% what they focus on, each of them have ways of dabbling into other mechanics areas. Mostly you can pick descriptors and foci that give you other power sets. It's kinda like multiclassing of old, but a LOT more flexible. I could be the Mystic Fighter who Rides the Lightning. And I've built myself a lightning bolt/energy manipulator who is handy with a gun/sword/fists. The Mystic adjective might give me magical awareness, and maybe a few skills in areas that my pure combat options don't cover.

I've heard people claim that there is a false balance between non-caster types and casters in Cypher system games, and while that sometimes can be true it's a bit wrong minded when thinking about player fun and narrative balance. Some players don't want multiple mechanical options in their character. They want a extreme specialization, with some skills to round out their background and such. The issues of specialization can be resolved with the expenditure of effort. Even though you might only bet Mr. Two Sword McFighterson you can still expend Mind/Speed effort to pull off thing outside your purview. Foci and unique powers of classes are narrative permission to 'shortcut' thing that would instead take extended effort/time in game. That's pretty much it.

Another big thing to keep in mind is the cross over of powers and the option to use the Cypher System 'flavor' power sets. Now, this can cause a weird issue when trying to judge if a Fighter gets access to a power at the same timeframe as a Explorer or Adapt, but here is a good rule of thumb. Don't let a core class take something at a tier of play better than a hybrid. Such as the Explorer/Speaker dabbling in Adapt or Fighter powers.

But in the world of "Yes, but" gaming if the player has a damn good reasoning for the character to have a power try to come up with a narrative cost or drawback to having it so early. Nice easy way to balance thing out via eyeballing it.

Okay, now the next big thing. Where is the blog going? Well for now? I'm going to talk about current ongoing gaming projects.

Like the Sine Nomine Godbound game beta I'm running, or Cypher System games I'm going to be running. Roll20 stuff, and system hacks I actually use and less pie in the sky maybes. I'm burned out on Exalted 3E's drama, but I'll still give the final PDF a once over and talk about other stuff I'm messing with. But in the end I'm kinda all over the place gaming wise and as I actually hash out stuff I'll improve the blog.


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