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 Post Post subject: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:17 pm 
Jehoshaphat Rocks!
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Welcome, Adventurers, Detectives, Scoundrels, Heroes, Explorers, Defenders, and Mercenaries to a new era of chatroom roleplay! It is a dark and terrible era, ruled by dice and... rules. This thread is here is a reference for anyone interested in the Subcypher Roleplaying System.

Current Games:
Most Afternoons and Evenings - Skid is probably hanging around in #Gowers to help newbies learn the rules, discuss character creation, and arrange 1-shot games for anyone who is online.
Drindal's Keep: Battle for the Sky - Check the thread for times and games.

Subcypher System Rules:
This is a rough adaptation of the Cypher ruleset made by Monty Cook Games, modified to be played without the rulebooks. Despite cutting the tiers system, focuses, descriptors, and types, it’s grown into a monstrosity of several pages, which is understandably a daunting task to read. And that’s assuming I didn’t go wrong somewhere with my 3 AM editing sessions.

Fear not! If reading a bunch of stuffy rules isn’t your thing, skip down to the character template, then come talk to Skid in the chatroom before a roleplaying session. The fastest way to to learn the game is to build a character and run through a couple practice scenarios to get a feel for it.

Expand sections below for the full ruleset.

Roles
A roleplaying game is a story told cooperatively between several people. In structured roleplay, these people are divided into the Game Master (GM) and the Players.

The Game Master has the greatest power in the story, but also the greatest responsibility. They design the world, empower the villains, set up and resolve challenges, control all the Non Player Characters (NPCs), and provide plot hooks to get the adventure started. If there is a disagreement on the rules or anything else in the game, the Game Master’s word is law.

Players each control a single hero which they create, roleplay, and pit against the challenges set up by the GM. While they don’t have the direct control over the game that the Game Master does, the story revolves around their interactions with the world and each other.

Challenges
The core of any story is the conflict and challenges that the heroes face and overcome. In this system, every individual challenge can be condensed to a number between 0 and 10, set by the Game Master. Climbing a building, calming a mob, overpowering a guard, or decrypting a code are all examples of challenges that heroes might encounter.

Level zero challenges are trivial things that any person could be expected to reliably succeed at on a day-to-day basis. Level five challenges are tasks that an expert would find moderately challenging. And at the top of the scale, level ten challenges are legendary feats that only the most skillful, prepared, and ultimately lucky hero can hope to triumph over.

A level zero challenge can be considered an automatic success. Additionally, if a task is reduced to level zero by applying skills, assets, or effort (all described below), it can also be considered an automatic success.

The difficulty of a challenge will usually only be revealed in general terms (easy, difficult, wildly improbable, etc).

Dice
Any time a task isn't an automatic success, the GM will announce that it must be challenged by rolling a 20-sided-die against the challenge’s target number. The target number is determined by multiplying the challenge level by 3.

Thus, a level 5 challenge has a target number of 15. If the hero rolls a 15 or above, they succeed. If they roll 14 or lower, they fail.

Note that this system makes challenges of level 7 and above impossible for the common person since their target number (21) cannot be reached by rolling a 20-sided-die. Skills, assets, and effort must be applied to reduce the task to an achievable level.

Rolling a 1 is always a critical failure, and will introduce a complication to your adventure. Your footing might slip, your enemy might suddenly sense your location, or your party guests might take offense to your ridiculous hat.

When performing a combat action, rolling a 20 is always a success, regardless of opponent level, and allows you to choose a cinematic bonus to go with your action. You might disarm an opponent, stun them for a round, or take a second free action.

When playing in IRC, typing "!roll d20" to use the dicebot. If you have skills, assets, or effort to add to a roll, type it like "!roll d20 specialized, 2 assets, 1 effort to damage". It doesn't do anything specific for the bot, but it lets the GM know how to modify the task difficulty.

Skills
Every hero has an array of skills at their disposal. In this system, skills are modeled in three levels: Default, Trained, and Specialized. When attempting a task, a hero will decrease the difficulty of the challenge by their relevant skills: one level for trained, two levels for specialized.

For example, a swordsman might be trying to attack a level 5 beast. They are specialized in swordsmanship, so the difficulty of the attack is reduced to 3. On the next turn, the beast counterattacks. The swordsman is trained in dodging, so dodging the attack is reduced to level 4.

A trained or specialized hero can also add their skill bonus to a companion’s attempt to complete a challenge, if the circumstances dictate that it would make sense.

There is no defined list of what skills a hero might possess. She could be a trained climber, a trained archer, a specialized negotiator, and a specialized hairdresser. However, it is recommended that you take broad skills that can be applied to a variety of situations.

Assets and Equipment
A typical hero also comes prepared with an array of tools and strategies that make their lives easier. A furnished garage helps a mechanic repair an engine. A dense forest aids a fugitive in evading pursuit. A pair of binoculars assists a sailor in spotting a distant island.

For every asset you can apply to a challenge, you reduce its difficulty by one level. You can generally apply a maximum of three assets to any single task.

Note that assets are not the same thing as an enabler. Having a gun enables you to fire a gun. Having a good scope on that gun is an asset to firing the gun.

Weapons deal different amounts of damage based on their quality and type. Light weapons are usually an asset to hit with attacks but deal less damage. Heavy weapons are a detriment to attack accuracy, but deal more damage.

Wearing armor reduces damage received by one point per level, but also increases the difficulty of all movement and dodging tasks by one level, unless armor training is taken to offset it.

Pools and Hitpoints
As heroic as they are, heroes do have limitations. These are represented by three pools of points, representing their stamina in Might, Speed, and Intellect.

Might is associated with all things made of brute strength and endurance. Heavy weapon attacks, absorbing physical damage, resisting poison, lifting, crushing, pushing, and swimming all fall within the domain of might.

Speed is the element of movement and dexterity. Dodging attacks, wielding medium and light weapons, resisting paralysis, running, sneaking, balancing, juggling, and initiating combat are all speed-related activities.

Intellect covers everything to do with the mind, social interaction, and the senses. Deceiving, resisting mind control, tracking, researching, haggling, repairing, perceiving, and remembering knowledge are feats of intellect.

Hitpoints are subtracted from an associated pool when a hero receives injuries from attacks, and when they spend points to apply effort to challenges. Damage that would reduce a pool to negative values instead spills over into other pools in this order: Might -> Speed -> Intellect -> Might

When a pool is emptied, a hero becomes impaired, forcing them to use an effort to perform any action. While two pools are emptied, the hero is debilitated, and every action requires two effort.

When all three pools are empty, the hero dies.

Healing
Pool points are recovered with recovery rolls, which represent resting and medical care. Roll a 6-sided-die and add 1 to determine how many hitpoints you recover. Bonuses to hit point recovery can be added with character growth or positive resting circumstances. Recovered points can be distributed to pools however a hero would like.

A hero typically gets four recovery rolls in a day. The first takes only an action, and can be taken in combat. The second requires ten minutes. The third requires a full hour of rest. The fourth requires a full ten hours of rest with food and sleep. These rests can be taken in any order.

A hero can’t recover more hitpoints than they can normally hold in their pools.

Effort
A hero can choose to spend their pool points in a burst of effort towards accomplishing a task. The first level of effort costs three points, and decreases the level of a challenge by one. Each following level of effort applied to the same task costs two hitpoints.

The amount of effort a character can apply to a single task is limited by their effort cap.

For example, a hero absolutely needs to defuse a level 3 bomb that is about to obliterate his party. He applies his maximum three levels of effort, spending seven points from his intellect pool, and reduces the task difficulty from 3 to zero, an automatic success.

If a hero is reasonably sure an attack will connect, they can choose to apply effort to damage instead of accuracy. Every level of effort deals 3 additional damage, regardless of weapon.

A hero cannot apply effort that would render them impaired, disabled, or dead.

Edge
Edge represents a hero’s growth as increasingly difficult tasks cease to be fatiguing.

Each pool has an associated edge. Every time effort is applied from a pool, that edge can be subtracted from the cost. Eventually, lower levels of effort can be taken for free.

For example, a hero has 15 points in their might pool and 4 might edge. They apply three levels of effort to lift a gigantic rock, which would normally cost 7 might points. Their might edge reduces the cost to 3 points, leaving them with 12 might points.

Action
Generally the game is played with time passing however seems appropriate for the situation. Actions are taken as they are declared and rolled for.

However, when a situation becomes intense or violent the Game Master will ask the players to roll for initiative (monsters substitute their target number for the initiative roll), and the game enters tactical turn-based mode, with each turn representing roughly five seconds of time.

In turn-based mode all characters act in order from the highest initiative score to the lowest. Each gets one quick action per round, which includes moving 10 feet to carry the action out. Alternately, a hero can spend their whole action to move 30 feet, or roll a movement challenge which might allow them move a much greater distance determined by their skill, the terrain, and the dice roll.

If a hero is attacked they make a defense roll to evade or block damage on the attacker’s turn without sacrificing their own.

Experience
As heros adventure they gain skill and strength. These are represented by experience points (XP), which are awarded by the Game Master. Many things are worth experience points, depending on the focus of the story the heroes are in. Completing a quest is obviously worth a reward, as is defeating a powerful dragon, exploring a forgotten island, or realizing a hero’s personal life goal.

Experience can also be rewarded in exchange for an intrusion by the GM, as they make a hero’s life more difficult by a sudden twist of misfortune.

Heroes can spend one XP to re-roll the dice for any challenge they attempt and fail. The new roll must be used, even if it is worse than the previous one.

Experience points can be spent to buy permanent hero upgrades. The following cost 4 XP each: buy a new skill at trained level, or buy 4 points to distribute to their ability pools.

For 6 XP: upgrade edge for one pool, upgrade your recovery roll bonus by 2 points, upgrade an existing trained skill to specialized, or increase your effort cap by one level.

If a hero want to upgrade in a way not covered by the rules (or maybe even that explicitly breaks them), an experience cost can be negotiated with the Game Master. Get creative.

Character Creation
A hero starts the typical adventure with 30 points to distribute between their pools, one level of effort cap, 2 points of edge, one specialized non-combat skill, two trained skills, and basic equipment that fits their character description (negotiated with the GM).

For example, Crom is a barbarian poet. He puts 14 points into his might pool for survivability in combat, and 8 each into intellect and speed. He splits his edge points between might and intellect. He specializes his skill in literature, and trains in wilderness survival and axes.

Name: Crom
Skills: specialized in Literature, trained in Wilderness Survival and axes
Might Pool (14) Edge (1): 14
Speed Pool (8) Edge (0) : 8
Intellect Pool (8) Edge (1) : 8
Recovery Rolls (1d6+1): 1A ( ) 10M ( ) 1H ( ) 10H ( )
Effort Cap: 1
Experience: 0
Equipment: Primitive Great-Axe (6 damage, heavy), bedroll, firestarter, notepad, The Complete Works Of Edgar Allan Poe
Bio: Young and wild, Crom is the exiled son of a barbarian chieftain. Born in the village Gruk, he learned to read from a traveling bookseller. From there his passion for literature grew, until the day he missed an entire battle while reading Aesop’s Fables. For this betrayal he was banished from his village and sent to wander the wastes. Crom now travels from city to city in search of libraries to sate his hunger for fine literature.

Character Sheet:
Name:
Skills:
Might Pool (0) Edge (0):
Speed Pool (0) Edge (0) :
Intellect Pool (0) Edge (0) :
Recovery Rolls (1d6+1): 1A ( ) 10M ( ) 1H ( ) 10H ( )
Effort Cap: 1
Experience: 0
Equipment:
Bio:


Last edited by Skid on Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:33 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:34 pm 
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Is this the RPG you settled on?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:48 pm 
Jehoshaphat Rocks!
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It's the rules system. I'm writing up the Ember Patrol in another thread, which I will post this weekend, hopefully.


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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:19 pm 
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It seems to me that skills are over-priced compared to edge. Buying a point of edge gives me a free lowering of challenge on about a third of tasks, but buying a skill will only give a bonus a fraction of those times. However, edge only costs 2 more points than skills. Shouldn't edge cost more like 8 points or so, compared to the cost of 4 for a skill?


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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:01 am 
Jehoshaphat Rocks!
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3 levels of edge (equaling one free effort) = 18 XP
4 skills up to trained = 16 XP
Trained + specialized in 1 skill = 10 XP

Remember that pool points are a renewable resource (you get an average of 18 per day with a new character), and are worthless unless spent.

If you put your first two edge into the same pool then yes, it's most efficient to buy another edge to get that first level of free effort, But beyond that, skills allow you to advance much faster in areas of focus, or if you want to boost a specific ability outside of your favored pool.

I'd even recommend building an effort cap well beyond your edge, since it's better to spend a burst of 5 speed or might points to take an enemy down in a single powerful attack than suffer 10 points in damage as your wear it down slowly and cheaply. Especially if those 10 points of damage would debilitate your character.


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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:59 pm 
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Cool I'll be joining when you start.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:42 am 
I guess I'll stick around
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I'll join if I can figure out the instructions.... :-k

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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:44 am 
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Go to the #gowers room while Skid is online. He'll teach you. :)

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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:54 am 
I guess I'll stick around
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Sameria_ZX wrote:
I'll join if I can figure out the instructions.... :-k


Haha, same...
Is this the RPG you were telling me about Skid?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:53 pm 
Jehoshaphat Rocks!
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Yes, this is the ruleset. I'll have an actual game to join posted eventually.


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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:31 pm 
I guess I'll stick around
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:o Skid! You live! I never even realized you actually posted here :p I also vaguely knew Gowers existed but never really knew what it was. This looks interesting, though, looks to be a daunting task to run. Do you GM? Or...?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:03 pm 
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I'm definitely interested in attempting to figure this out. :mrgreen:

All I have to do is create a character, then talk to Skid in #Gowers?
Sounds good to me. :mrgreen:

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 Post Post subject: Re: Subcypher System Rules, references, and discussion
Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:12 pm 
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I think you can do character creation on #Gowers, if Skid on on there to help.


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