Review: Extreme Cyphers

Sometimes a regular cypher just won’t do…

Extreme Cyphers is the newest glimmer from Monte Cook Games and is compatible with Numenera, The Strange, and The Cypher System. It contains 40 new Cyphers with much more dramatic effects then the standard cyphers found throughout the games. There’s a handy table to roll on to make it so you can randomly hand out these cyphers, but I think as a GM you might want to pick out these cyphers for special occasions.

I love that within the Cypher system a glimmer like this can be used within any of the games. There’s a table included that gives the forms that the cypher could take in the Ninth World, as well as the common recursions in The Strange. This should also give you some ideas how they could appear in your own setting using the Cypher System.

These cyphers are overpowered and some could have some long term effects on your game, like the introduction of a volcano in the middle of a previously geologically boring region. Or allowing a PC to heal up all of their pools to full simultaneously while getting rid of all diseases and poisons. Or even causing everyone within the given radius to rage and attack each other. As a wise man once said, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” and there’s all kinds of things that can happen if your party maybe forgets being responsible when they have the ability to take the shape of any creature they know to exist.

Any of these cyphers would be a great legendary artifact the party is charged with acquiring, and maybe even destroying. Or maybe they need it just so they can get to the next stage of a plan. Or maybe it’s in the hands of a villain and they need to make sure that they don’t use it. Whatever the reason you introduce an extreme cypher, they certainly can bring an extra level of risk or power to your campaign

This is a really useful glimmer, and very powerful cyphers are something that I think are a great addition to the system. In the Numenera campaign I recently wrapped up running I wanted a one use powerful object, and expanding some options for that is very helpful. One thing that I wish was included is what happens if an extreme cypher is in your possession when you have more then your allowed number of cyphers. I think that this would likely lead to more instability, and perhaps more explosive problems if you hold onto one of these for too long.

Extreme Cyphers is written by Bruce R. Cordell and published by Monte Cook Games. You can find it at the Monte Cook Store or at DriveThruRPG for $2.99.

Megan loves RPGs, cephalopods, robots, dice, and Kickstarter campaigns related to the above. She is a co-founder of The Redacted Files and runs our Numenera, Pathfinder, and Horror on the Orient Express campaigns, as well as the Trail of Cthulhu one-shots.

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