Welcome to the Cypher System Reference

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The Scenario

When thinking about a Cypher Short scenario, think in terms of what you would expect to see in a movie. And not just any movie, but one where the action mostly takes place in one (probably large, hopefully interesting and dynamic) location


This section of a Cypher Short is a brief overview of the setting and the premise of

the situation. The basic statement of the genre and setting should be given to the players before they make characters.

Possible Encounters

This section is a list of possible encounters that might happen in the scenario, depending on what the characters do, where they go, and so on. Cypher Shorts don’t rely on a keyed map or a detailed outline of a plot. Think of these as the possible scenes of your movie. More than likely, the group will have time for only five or six encounters in one session, so feel free to pick and choose the ones that best fit the way the game seems to be going.

Each encounter is presented with a trigger, meaning that it is triggered by some action of the characters.

Each encounter comes with the relevant game stats: the challenges for common tasks the PCs might attempt, the levels of NPCs involved, and other information not related to game stats, such as the answers to the questions the PCs might ask, the personality of any relevant NPC, and so on.

GM Intrusions

Each Cypher Short comes with a brief list of GM intrusion suggestions that are specific to that scenario.

Remember that GM intrusions are the only way for players to earn XP in the scenario, so they’re really important. At the same time, they will probably spend any XP they get. So there might be more calls for rerolls using XP in a Cypher Short adventure than you’re used to in a standard Cypher System game.

The Conclusion

Ideally, as with a movie, the end of a Cypher Short session comes to a nice story conclusion (though not every ending needs to be a happy one). Hopefully, the main situation has been resolved one way or another, and the implications of what probably happens next for the characters and the setting are self-evident. But with a Cypher Short, we don’t worry too much about what happens next. It’s a one-shot scenario.

The Cypher System is a setting-generic tabletop roleplaying game designed by Monte Cook Games.
This product is an independent production and is not affiliated with Monte Cook Games, LLC. It is published under the Cypher System Open License, found at https://csol.montecookgames.com.
CYPHER SYSTEM and its logo are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Monte Cook Games characters and character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC.