Subtle Cypher Deck

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!

Subtle Cypher Deck
By Monte Cook and Sean K. Reynolds
100-card deck or PDF
$19.99 (print); $7.99 (PDF)

Charles Ryan
Charles Ryan

Charles M. Ryan has written or contributed to titles in nearly every class of tabletop game—board games, card games, trading card games, miniature games, and roleplaying games—over a 25-year career in the game industry. He has also served as the global brand manager for Dungeons & Dragons and headed up the marketing department at the UK’s Esdevium Games, one of the world’s largest game distributors. He is the Chief Operating Officer at Monte Cook Games.