Generate random cyphers on the fly for your modern, sci-fi, or other realistic game
Cyphers—single-use abilities that characters gain over the course of play—lie, not surprisingly, at the heart of the Cypher System. In many genres, cyphers come in the form of items, like magic potions, one-shot spell scrolls, or bits of alien technology.
But physical items with overt, supernatural-seeming effects don’t fit every setting. Modern, historical, near-future science-fiction and similar genres demand realistic character abilities, and magic crystals or bizarre alien doohickies don’t fit. These types of games use “subtle cyphers,” which grant effects that are believable, minor, and not connected to physical items.
The Subtle Cypher Deck gives you dozens of subtle cyphers, distributed among the 100 cards according to rarity. Generate subtle cyphers on the fly simply by drawing a card—pick one randomly, or use the suggestions on the card backs for when the cypher might be encountered. The player keeps the card until the cypher is used, then turns it in. It’s quick, convenient, saves rolls and rulebook lookups, and prevents the player from having to write down (and later erase) details of how the cypher works. The deck even works as a random d100 or d6 number generator!
PDF purchasers: To print your Subtle Cypher Deck, set your double-sided printer to short-edge binding and print on a cardstock material. Then, with a sharp utility knife and straight edge, use the crop marks as guides to trim the cards apart. If you don’t have a double-sided printer, print the pages individually and then glue them back-to-back with a thin, even coat of adhesive. Before glueing, hold the back-to-back sheets up to a light source to ensure they are lining up correctly. The gutters between the cards give you a little bit of leeway if the two sides do not line up exactly.