Review: UXP Deck [Cypher System]

Contains affiliate links.

Retail Price: $2.99 for the digital or $5.99 for digital and preprinted bundle at DriveThruRPG 

Designer: Nathan Rockwood

Publisher: Larcenous Designs

Year Released: 2016

Pages: 31 Card Deck

Type: Game Aid

System: Cypher System(any)

Requires: A Cypher System rule system based core rulebook: Cypher System Rulebook/Revised Cypher System Rulebook/Numenera Discovery/The Strange/Vurt/ ect.


When running the a Cypher System based game I have noticed two potential concerns that crop up in relation to player expenditure of XP. First, when introducing the Cypher System to new players, especially those from a D&D or video game background, there seems to be a tendency for players to want to horde XP for tier advancement purposes. Which honestly, I understand. I had basically the same response back when I played Numenera for the first time. The second, lies at the other end of the spectrum. Players quickly running through XP on rerolls. 

I will note that neither of these things should be considered problems, in fact there are some potential advantages in both cases. At any rate, I stumbled across a rather interesting product that seems to be well suited to smoothing out these concerns these concerns, Larcenous Designs’ UXP “Unique Experience” Deck.

Overview:

The UXP Deck consists of 31 cards divided as follows: 1 “title” card with license info, 20 1 XP cards, 10 4 XP cards. The XP cards, in addition to indicating their standard XP value 1 or 4, have two additional text boxes. One above the XP value and once below. 

In the case of the 1 XP cards the top entry indicates that a given card counts as 2 XP when used towards gaining a listed short, medium, or long term benefit. For example the deck contains a 1 XP card that counts as 2 XP for gaining the “title or job long-term benefit. The bottom entry alters the effects of spending a 1 XP card for a reroll. This alteration is general an increase or decrease to total result or a “free” GM intrusion regardless of what is rolled.

The 4 XP cards have an extra benefit that triggers when they are spent for character advancement, referred to on the cards as purchasing a “tier stage upgrade”. These effects are either immediate, trigger under a listed circumstance, or are a static bonus comparable to a medium-term benefit. 

Would I Recommend This Product?

I am the proud owner of both a digital and physical copy of this deck, and I have to say that yes I would recommend it. It provides a small enhancement to how the mechanic of XP expenditure functions, adding a bit of randomness in a simple and uncomplicated way. It also makes the sometimes ignored benefits for XP expenditure more appealing by discounting them and makes rerolls potentially less of a knee-jerk response. In terms of aesthetics, the design of the UXP deck is very visually appealing. The amalgamated crystal, filigree, plant, and circuit motif decorating the card backs and faces is very suggestive of Cypher System’s nature as a generic/genre neutral roleplaying game. The UXP Deck only introduces a relatively small change into the overall machinery of the Cypher System. From my point of view this change adds a hint of spice to the process of expending XP, but at worst it is still a very attractive XP deck.

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