It’s a time for masks and mayhem and for me this means superheroes! Superhero flavor can be found everywhere, even in more rigid tabletop roleplaying game systems like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. What are Critical Role’s Mighty Nein or Vox Machina, if not superheroes in their own worlds? I’ve often thought many homebrew campaign settings feel a lot like fantasy superheroes in worlds where being super is more about aspiration and power development than power inaccessibility. But some people just want the unabashed superhero flavor in their RPG campaigns. Yet many Game Masters I’ve talked with don’t know where to start when it comes to supers.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted take a cue from a fellow YouTuber and share tales of adventurers — and more specifically adventurers — past. It’s indulgent, it’s fun and it’s introspectively interesting to take a long view back at all the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons characters who’ve solved puzzles, talked with other characters, battled fantastic monsters and discovered fabulous magic items and other treasure. And since they got to do it in the video I’m gonna do the same thing right here. A huge roster of 5E D&D characters took up the adventuring life in the last six years and from the group I culled my top five favorites, hopefully each with a little nugget of usefulness to you but certainly a hefty load for me. So let’s get into it.
So, you wanna get into the big bold world of tabletop roleplaying games, huh? Maybe you’ve decided to spend more time with friends and you think game night is a great way to do this or perhaps you’ve got inspiration for a sprawling world and you just really want to evolve it by telling stories in it. Suppose you don’t know where to start, like what RPG system you should use. You could go with Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a classic for a reason and fifth edition D&D definitely strikes a delicate balance between crunchy and simple. Maybe you’ve recently been watching Nerdarchy’s most recent live play Moon Rises and you want to try your hand with Cypher System. Maybe there’s another game you’ve wanted to try but you’re just not sure on the matter or maybe you don’t even know where to start when you want to branch out with RPGs. Don’t worry. If you want a brief rundown of what different systems high and low points are you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re talking about five different RPG systems — what they do well, what they could do better and general pros and cons. Before we delve even that far feel free to check out the video I did over on my own YouTube channel where I break down the strengths and weaknesses of different types of RPG systems.
Nerdarchy’s brand new live play series is called Moon Rises. Utilizing Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System, the story is set in the science fantasy post apocalypse of our own Earth. Our intrepid heroes must help the charismatic leader Unic Hopebringer in reclaiming Manhattan to rebuild it as New Manhattan. We interviewed the cast of Moon Rises to get some insights into their characters, the world and the TTRPG system breathing mechanical life into this alien yet familiar world. Today, let’s talk about Blue, the mutant monkey, and his player Nerdarchist Ted!
Moon Rises is Nerdarchy’s brand new live play series of Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System! Set in the science fantasy post apocalypse of our own Earth, the heroes must help the charismatic leader Unic Hopebringer in reclaiming Manhattan to rebuild it as New Manhattan. We interviewed the cast of Moon Rises to get some insights into their characters, the world and the TTRPG system breathing mechanical life into this alien yet familiar world. Today, we’re sitting down with the player behind the ancient astronaut with a psychic twist! Today we’re talking about the tanky deep sea diver with an alien wetsuit!
Nerdarchy’s new live play RPG Moon Rises is a post apocalyptic science fantasy game inspired by action cartoons from the 1980s. This premise is pretty high concept and while most tabletop roleplaying games accommodate fantasy elements the sci-fi and post apocalyptic elements are a bit neglected in many mainstream systems, and devising mechanics (while rewarding at times) is a heavy commitment. But our Game Master for this season of Nerdarchy Live game play, Nerdarchist Dave, had something up his sleeve. He introduced us to Cypher System. When Dave told us intended to use Cypher System by Monte Cook Games my response wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. I’d only heard of the RPG system in passing and when I learned Cypher was the genre agnostic version of Numenera my curiosity was piqued, though I remained skeptical. What I’d heard of Numenera was it was a fun game but had a stigma of being overly simple. So far, not a great setup to the system, huh? I try to keep things positive in my articles, though never at the expense of honesty. That probably has you wondering why I chose to do an article on Cypher System. The reason I’m writing is to say I was wrong. I was very wrong. What’s more I’d bet if I had heard such things about the system at my FLGS, I likely wasn’t alone and I wanted to set the record straight.
Moon Rises is Nerdarchy’s brand new live play series of Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System! Set in the science fantasy post apocalypse of our own Earth, the heroes must help the charismatic leader Unic Hopebringer in reclaiming Manhattan to rebuild it as New Manhattan. We interviewed the cast of Moon Rises to get some insights into their characters, the world and the TTRPG system breathing mechanical life into this alien yet familiar world. Today, we’re sitting down with the player behind the ancient astronaut with a psychic twist!
In Session Three of Nerdarchy’s Cypher System Rules Shadowrun Liveplay Campaign on Youtube, Ted Adam’s character “Sticks” (Ork Technomancer) hacked into a motorcycle that was left near the site of a major AmerIndian magical ritual (the Verdant Five). Here are the Cypher System Rules Mechanics for that motorcycle (the Hatami Kei Shark) as well as the motorcycle’s history. You can use this in your Cypher System Rules Shadowrun Campaigns as –
- A Game Ready Custom Ride for a Player Character or Non-Player Character
- An adventure hook
- A source of five new Non-Player Characters
CYPHER SYSTEM RULES MECHANICS
Hatami Kei Shark – Level 5 Vehicle (Motorcycle) Value: 34,000 NuYen A standard Street Racing Motorcycle is a Level 2 Vehicle and the Hatami Kei Shark would grant the rider 3 steps (+9) to any roll in competition against a Level 2 Vehicle (Motorcycle) The Hatami Kei Shark is equipped with wireless transmitters (on Z88C hyper-frequency) that will open the wireless triggered entrances, throughways and exits that make up the secret route through the abandoned 2062 Seattle White Nester Line Project (which is now maintained by the Seattle branch of the Neuro Caspers)
This Table Ready Cypher System Rules non-player character is ready to drop into your next Cypher System Rules Shadowrun Game, whether you are a Gamemaster or Player.
Character Name – Dredge Hammer
Shadowrun Race and Class – Troll Adept
Cypher System Character Elements – Descriptor (Perceptive) Type (Warrior) Focus (Masters Weaponry Axe) and (Stands Like a Bastion)
TIER – 2
EFFORT – 2
Might – 18 = 10+4+4
Speed – 10 = 10+0
Intellect – 12 = 8+2+2
Might – 2 = 1+1
Speed – 1 = 1+0
Intellect – 0 = 0+0
MELEE WEAPON AND ATTACK
Since the summer of 2014, I have been fortunate to run a One-shot and three Tabletop Roleplaying Game Campaigns for the Nerdarchy crew. These games have used 1) the Fate Accelerated Rules System, 2) the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Rules System and 3) the Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Rules System (all available to view at the links below).
- Fate Accelerated – Orks and Star Carriers
- D&D 5E – Thrycion Grey Riders
- D&D 5e Modern – Nerdarchy Saves The World
- FFG Star Wars – After the Force Awakens
I am fortunate that the Nerdarchy crew has invited me to run a fourth Tabletop Roleplaying Game Campaign for them. This will be the most challenging Campaign so far as we will be endeavouring to accomplish something we have never done before. We will be using the Rule System from one Tabletop Roleplaying Game and the World from another Tabletop Roleplaying Game.