CypherCaster Magazine is a great fanzine for all Monte Cook Games, with a ton of valuable information and inspiration with each release. I have found valuable information with each release, and the latest issue is no exception.
The first piece is a short story set in the world of Gods of the Fall written by Bruce Cordell. There’s not a lot about the setting, but there is a lot of world building that really helped me get a feel for the setting. For those of you who don’t know, Gods of the Fall was part of the Cypher System kickstarter earlier this year as a setting book. It builds a world where the gods have disappeared, but years later people have dominions they can control awakened. There’s a lot to love about this setting, most of all the flexibility of the powers, and how perception can change them.
There is also a short story by Andrew Cady, called Field Mission, which is an action piece set in the world of The Strange. It has a Lovecraftian angle that I really love, and I only wish that it could have been longer.
I really love the small focused setting in Qi for Numenera, written by Chris Fitzgerald. Miranda’s House is a boarding house that you can have your PCs stay in or find a lead at. There’s descriptions of the staff and guests, and what is really great is that the NPCs are given a short description as well as strengths and weaknesses. The strengths and weaknesses really give you an idea of who the character is and how to play them, but isn’t super restrictive and doesn’t require a lot of reading or things to keep track of. There’s a great diversity of people to encounter, plus a menu of food that can be found there! I haven’t seen a Ninth World menu anywhere else, and the creativity was great. Now I want a whole article focused on the regional delicacies of the Ninth World.
The bulk of this release is a really interesting intergalactic police cypher setting called Sector Agents, created by David Wilson Brown. It gives some really great advice on incorporating the variety of foci for PCs as different alien species in a way I think really works out well. I really enjoy pulpy settings, and Brown doubles down on providing that. We’ve been talking about building a Star Trek-esque campaign for a cypher game, and this has so many great ideas and resources, including tables for creating star systems, a table for planetary politics, and a random mission generator. Plus, there’s the laws for interstellar space that your Sector Agents will enforce. This issue really helps give you the resources you need to run a game in the setting, with five species that can be encountered or played by a PC, including ones that aren’t bipedal.
There are two adventures that accompany the Sector Agents setting, the first called “The Curious Case of Praxis-3” by Rustin Coones, and the second written by TRF friend John WS Marvin, “The Prisoner of Morpheus Station.” You’ll have all of the resources you need to try out this really fun looking setting and have your own pulpy, police procedural.
Great minds think alike, and it was a pleasant surprise to see the Vehicles with Character article by Marc Plourde. Vehicles in the Cypher games haven’t been given much attention, and we’ve talked about creating a new system using the character creation rules to make a really special ship on TRF before. Luckily, Plourde did the work for us! Using the same basic outline for building a character, he outlines how different parts of a ship are analogous to a character, and how points should be distributed. He has a huge list of upgrades that are available for your ship, but what I really love is his suggestion that both credits and XP can be used to buy these. Many parts of the ship creation reminded me of the Firefly (Cortex+) system for building a ship, with choosing distinctions and assets. But the method he outlines is really a great fit for cypher system, and I think it’s something anyone running a Cypher game with a ship in it should read.
There is also a campaign set in a new recursion, which is described in Issue 005, called Zuomeng by Rustin Coones, Scott Robinson & Jennifer Ross. The setting is full of pirates and your agents must determine what Rukian agents are doing near a US naval base.
I have found a wealth of information, ideas, and inspiration in each issue of CypherCaster Magazine, and I am happy to read it each time. The magazine always has a really diverse set of articles, and the ideas that I read have been consistently great. However, this issue was plagued by some formatting issues and one difficult to read font. I don’t think any of this is distracting enough to prevent me from giving two thumbs up and my recommendation to add it to your Cypher resource list.
You can find this Issue 006 at DriveThruRPG for $4.
Check out my review for Issue 001 here.