How to Use the Cypher System Character Builder

How to Use the Cypher System Character Builder

The Cypher System Character Builder, a part of the growing suite of Cypher Tools, is now live! This public beta release is a great tool for building, advancing, maintaining, and gaming with Cypher System characters. Here’s a primer on how to use it.

Setting up for the First Time

You’ll need to create a Cypher Tools account and set up a campaign to get started.

Go to the Character Builder

To get started, go to the Cypher Tools page. It’s at, or you can go to the Monte Cook Games website and click on Cypher Tools in the menu bar.

Either way, when you get there, simply click on Go to the Character Builder!

Create an Account

You need a Cypher Tools account. (This is different than any account you might have on the MCG Shop or other Monte Cook Games sites, so even if you have an account elsewhere you’ll need to create a new one for Cypher Tools.) Click the Create Your Account button at the bottom of the page.

(If you already have a Cypher Tools account, simply log in.)

Set Up a Campaign

Once logged in, you need to set up a campaign to start using the Character Builder.

A campaign is a space in which you can create and store characters. (You can also share your campaign with your friends so they can view or even edit your characters, and future Cypher Tools features will build upon this capability.)

Start by giving your campaign a name. You can also set your time zone, and choose which sources are appropriate to the game you might plan on playing. (For example, if you want to play a fantasy game, you may choose to check Godforsaken, the genre book covering fantasy, but uncheck The Stars Are Fire, to filter out options from this science fiction book.)

Don’t stress about this! You can change any of these options later, or create new campaigns.

When done, click Create Campaign at the bottom of the page.

Building a Character!

Once you’re in the Character Builder, it’s time to get started! If this is your first character, you’ll see the New Character page after logging in. If you’ve played around a bit already, simply click New Character at the top of the page.

Make a Character from Scratch

Your best bet for creating a character from scratch is Guided mode. Simply click that choice and follow the steps! Here are some useful notes:

  • You’ll only see options allowed by the campaign. (So, if you unchecked The Stars Are Fire when setting up the campaign, you won’t see any foci or descriptors from that book.)
  • One of the first choices is the campaign flavor. The GM decides which flavors, if any, are appropriate for the campaign. If you’re creating a character for a game you’re going to play, ask the GM which flavor or flavors they allow. If you’re making a character for fun, go with the default (No Flavor), or choose one you like!
  • Want custom options, or a higher-tier character? Guided mode creates a tier-1 character following the game’s rules, but the Cypher System is flexible. Once you complete the Guided process, you can edit the character as you see fit!

When you’re done, it takes you to the character view page. (More on this under Playing Your Character, below). You can click on Characters at the top of the page to see the list of characters you’ve created.

Add Your Existing Character to the Character Builder

You can use the Character Builder to manage, advance, play, and share existing characters from Cypher System games you’re already playing.

To do so, go to the New Character page and choose the Unguided mode. Enter the existing character’s pool values, descriptor, type, and focus, along with a few other options. Then click Create Character.

This takes you to the Character Details page, showing a complete character with randomly generated abilities, skills, and cyphers. Edit these items to match your existing character.

You can also use the Unguided mode and those randomly generated choices to inspire yourself with a character build you might not have come up with on your own.

Playing Your Character

You have multiple options for using your character.

  • From the Character Builder: You can use your character directly from the Character Builder. This is handy when gaming online, or if you have a tablet or laptop at your game table. Click on the Characters tab at the top of the page, then click on the character name. This takes you to the Character Details page. You can manage the things that typically change during play (pools, XP, recovery rolls, and so on) right on the screen. This is the only method that automatically updates changes to your character in the Character Builder.
  • As a PDF: From the Characters page, click PDF to the right of the character’s name. This generates a downloadable form-fillable PDF you can print and take to the game table, or use on a device.
  • In a VTT: You can import your character into The Foundry. (Support for Roll20 is coming, and other virtual tabletops (VTTs) may also be available in the future.) On the Character Details page, scroll to the bottom and click Foundry Export. This generates a file you can then import into The Foundry.

The Cypher System Character Builder offers a bunch of additional features. You can create additional campaigns, and invite your friends to join them. The powerful search tool lets you look up cyphers, creatures, character abilities, and more. New features are in development, too. Explore the Character Builder to discover more of what it offers!

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