Cypher System Deadlands Homebrew Progress 3

Okay! Making Decent progress. Types and Flavours are done, and they’re the most setting-reliant and take the most work. Foci and Descriptors should be easier and faster to incorporate, with probably no changes for the vast majority of stuff. So I’m already figuring out a introductory scenario and should get that written up soon. The bunch of old White Dwarf back issues from the mid-80s have been great for idea stealing.


Got yer Fightin’ Sort, Spinner, Drifter, Huckster, Blessed and Shaman types figured out. The last three are just variations of a template, with a couple of different rules.

  • Fightin’ Sort: Combat specialists. They’re real good at the hurtin’ business.
  • Spinner: Social Interaction specialists, but it goes a bit beyond that. They’re able to fiddle with memories, supernaturally intimidate, it is (potentially) more than just a silver tongue.
  • Drifter: is your Jack of All Trades, with things that don’t quite fit in other Types. But there are a few things that no one else can do. The Drifter isn’t just hedged bets between other Types, it has a lot of its own stuff going on.
  • Huckster: Magic flinging, it’s the most offensive of the three magic classes for sure. As well as the spell type abilities, there are a few added abilities relating to how they cast their spells and rules regarding their dealings with the Manitous. I put in a skill called Blood Magic that allows an advanced Huckster to spend Might rather than Intellect to cast spells – a kind of desperate ploy – but once they start that they have to keep spending Might until they are successful.
  • Blessed: Blessed spells tend not to be offensive (although there are a few) but they are all simple Intellect point buys like regular Cypher System/Numenera spells.
  • Shaman: Shaman have a mix of offensive and useful spells – the deal with Shamans is that a lot of their spells are rituals – they can do some amazing things, but it takes time. Their spell durations are a bit better though. This frees up the Shaman to bit a bit more free with his chips than other magic users – which seems suitable for a more physical role.


When you select a type, you may select a Flavour or you can add a Flavour later if you haven’t already. From then on, whenever you would choose an ability as part of your tier advancement in a Type, you can instead choose an ability from your Flavour and strike out an ability from your type. This allows customization on the fly as opposed to setting out from the git-go with a plan in mind. I’m happy with this list of Flavours and the only one I’m thinking of adding is Old Ways – the refutation of technology and European settler customs and re-commitment to traditional native ways. I’m not sure that needs to be a Flavour though. I’ll see.

  • Stealth: Uh, makes you sneakier.  Adds a lot of good rogue skills to your Type.
  • Weird Science: Gives you access to all manner of Ghost Rock-fueled gadget skills. I considered making this a Type, but I think if you lean into this Flavour hard enough you can get a pretty pure Weird Scientist. It also lets players dip in a little if they want to have a gadget-using Spinner or Fightin’ Sort, or whatever. There is a Mandatory Ability which has to be taken at Character Creation. After that, there are gadget building abilities and Tonic making abilities.
  • Harrowed: Obviously Harrowed characters can be anything they used to be, but there’s two mandatory abilities at First Tier again if you come by your undeath through character creation. After Character Creation, if you happen to kick the bucket, I figure you get to draw a card for each Tier (+cards for special achievements) and if you manage to get a Joker, well, you’re back on your boots again. I came up with some rules for battlin’ with the Manitou for control of the body, hopefulluy they’re not too onerous.
  • Skills and Knowledge: As a Flavour, this works well if you particularly want to create a profession: a Muckraker, a Prospector, a Fur Trapper, because it lets you focus on particular skills rather than tricks.
  • Combat: This Flavour is for anyone who wants to add a mean edge to their type. It is of no use to Fightin’ Sorts, but when combined with Huckster you could make a Hexslinger, with Drifter you could make a Murder-Hobo, etc

    The Harrowed rely on a steady intake of raw meat and booze to keep their bodies regenerating and smelling… not good, but not terrible.

I’ve got the gear list done and figured out rules for horseback shenanigans, and reloading. Thematically, the only other extra rule I can think of is a rule for duelling. The original Deadlands had a good mechanic whereby it paid off to wait as long as possible, but you didn’t want to wait too long. In CS that might just come down to a Speed check, which is a bit… anti-climactic.

Alright. I think the next update should be a round up of all the Foci and Descriptors… and that’ll be the last, because we’ll be set to play.

One Comment on “Cypher System Deadlands Homebrew Progress 3

  1. Getting pretty excited to try this out. A great merging of a rules system and a setting I really enjoy.