One of the things l love about Savage Worlds is how you can use setting-specific card decks and tokens for bennies to add the feeling of whatever genre you’re emulating. Here’s an example of using Pirate themed bennies for settings like 50 Fathoms. Great stuff!
Using the Cypher System, you can also emulate settings by using custom Cyphers. Here’s a great list of Star Trek themed cyphers from Ryan Chaddock that will add in a Trek tech flavor that I just love:
Star Trek is all about innovative solutions to problems. So are Cyphers. Let’s leverage the dynamic fun of Cyphers as solutions to build a Trek experience that simulates the fun of the show.
Firstly, let’s go with subtle Cyphers for most of this. It might be possible for characters to patch together manifest Cyphers here and there, but that’s more of an engineering task specific to the situation. In fact, let’s just build a couple subtle Cyphers for that scenario.
These subtle Cyphers are intended to supplement the existing list from the CSR. They’re more in keeping with the Star Trek flavor of tech and science pushed to dangerous limits. You’ll note that they have a “Minor” effect, and a much more powerful “Major” one that often comes with a cost: an Intrusion that provides no XP. Players employing a Cypher must choose which they want to go with: Minor or Major. Characters are given the tools to accomplish nearly anything they need to, BUT AT WHAT COST?
Alternative Use. Level 1d6 + 4 Occultic. Minor: You add a random additional function to a technology; roll on the manifest Cypher table for effect/inspiration. Major: You add a function of your choice to a technology, the effect chosen from the manifest Cypher table; trigger a personal Intrusion. In the case of both Minor and Major, the additional effect lasts a number of minutes equal to the Cypher Level.
Bravado. Level 1d6 + 1 Anoetic. Minor: Through hutzpah you increase your range for rolling a Major Effect to 19-20 (no chance for a Minor Effect) for ten minutes. Major: You increase your Major Effect range to 17-20 (again, no Minor Effects), and rolled Intrusion range to 1-4 for 30 minutes.
Deflector Array Shenanigans. Level 1d6 + 4 Occultic. Requires access to a starship or starbase’s systems. Minor: You solve a scientific or technical problem of Difficulty 5 or lower. Major: You amplify an existing technology/Cypher through the entire ship, essentially bumping it up to ship scale for a number of rounds equal to the Cypher Level; trigger a group Intrusion.
Incredible Insight. Level 1d6 + 1 Anoetic. Minor: You discover one major fact concerning a technical or scientific mystery you are dealing with. Major: You discover a number of major facts about the mystery equal to the Cypher Level; trigger a personal Intrusion.
One-Use Device. Level 1d6 + 3 Anoetic. Minor: You craft a randomly selected manifest Cypher using available parts. Major: You craft a manifest Cypher of your choice; trigger a personal Intrusion.
Overload. Level 1d6 + 1 Anoetic. Minor: You disable a technology you have access to for a number of rounds equal to the Cypher Level. Major: You completely disable a technology you have access to; trigger a group Intrusion.
Peaceful Gesture. Level 1d6 + 1 Anoetic. Minor: You stop combat for one round, letting everyone talk for a moment. Major: You stop combat entirely; trigger a personal Intrusion.
Reroute Power. Level 1d6 + 2 Anoetic. Minor: You allow a disabled technology to continue functioning for a number of additional rounds equal to the Cypher Level. Major: You completely repair a disabled technology; trigger a group Intrusion. Example: You find a way to keep life support from failing, but an Intrusion occurs, requiring you to shut down artificial gravity in order to accomplish your fix.
Reverse Polarity. Level 1d6 + 1 Anoetic. Minor: You cause a technology to do the opposite of what it normally does for a number of rounds equal to the Cypher Level. Major: You cause a technology to do the opposite of what it normally does for a number of minutes equal to the Cypher Level; trigger a personal Intrusion. Examples: a phaser is made to heal, cool, or regenerate shields. A tricorder sends out misinformation to other nearby sensors.
Technical Sacrifice. Level 1d6 + 1 Anoetic. Minor: You heal a technology for a number of Health equal to the Cypher Level, dealing the same amount of damage to another device you’re working on. Major: You completely heal all damage to a technology, but completely destroy another device you’re working on.
Check out Ryan Chaddok’s blog and also The Translation Codex which contains much of these custom Foci and other Cypher elements you can fold into your custom campaigns.