Learning from Cypher: Earning Hero Coins through Intrusions



I am a big Cypher-head. I like the Science-Fantasy-weirdness of Numenéra and enjoy the versatility of genres that can be played with the Cypher System.
In the Cypher System there is a thing called GM Intrusion or GMI, which is a way for the GM to complicate the life of the player characters but offering them XP for doing so. Players can accept the intrusion and earn XP or they can deny the intrusion by spending XP. Since XP in the Cypher System are used to level up in a very classical way, there’s a whole economy of earning and spending XP tied to this GMI-mechanic.
There’s also a mechanic called player intrusion which is the reverse of the GMI: players spend XP to alter a situation or circumstances in their favour.

Abstracting GMI and player intrusions from how they tie into the game mechanically, it’s obvious that they do something on a narrative level: they change the narrative in a way that’s interesting to the GM or the players. Since I am a big fan of making games more narratively interesting without writing a whole bunch of new mechanics for it that sound super cool but really are clunky at the table, I tried to think about how I would implement something alike GMIs or player intrusions into ICRPG-games. Since the title of this post already gives it away, here’s my idea.

Let players earn hero coins by significantly complicating their own situation.

GMIs in Cypher place the burden on making the narrative interesting on the GM. This can feel arbitrary at times even though PCs earn XP to soften the blow. Encourage player autonomy by handing the reins over to your players. Let them complicate their own situations and award them hero coins for it (keeping the cap of one hero coin per player).
If you want to incorporate player intrusions into the hero coin-economy you can also allow for your players to spend their hero coins (apart from what they already do in ICRPG) to change the situation in their favour. This is basically very FATE-ish, since you could allow your players to create situational aspects.
If any of this works as nicely as I envision it to be, can only be verified by testing it in play, which is why I’ll incorporate it into my sessions and see how and if it works out. Take care y’all! :slight_smile:


Oh, I love the idea of giving players a way to earn hero coins that’s more concrete than “I as the GM liked what you did or said”. I’ll have to try this.