Last fall I took this Pastors & Dragons project to Gamehole Con. While I was there I ran a bunch of Cypher System adventures that I developed which I called “Adventures of Biblical Proportions”. I have found that the Cypher System provides a much more flexible base for Biblically based games than the more common D&D 5e system. With Cypher the genre of the stories you tell is much more malleable, making it extremely simple to run everything from historical no-magic, supernatural myth, high fantasy, modern, sci-fi, or any mix of genres you can think of.
My main issue with running Cypher, in spite of its simplicity, is that the rulebook is a bit all over the place. The Cypher System Rulebook has a ton of sidebars and cross-references, but I still found it pretty difficult to grok. Something about how it is organized feels really chaotic, and there are little bits of rules hiding all over the place.
In order to understand how to run the game, I began putting a sheet together that had all the necessary rules bits on 1 page. I was inspired by The Alexandrian’s Numenera focused cheat sheet, and wanted something similar but for just the general Cypher System. Last Fall, I polished up that page so I could easily use it to explain the game to new players. I think it turned out pretty well, so here it is for the world to use as well. I hope you like it!
This one-page cheat sheet explains all the basic Cypher System mechanics I’ve found to be necessary for actual play.
As we seemed to be coming out of the pandemic this past summer, I was trying to figure out a good way to re-engage the Pastors & Dragons Retreat. With that in mind, I decided to try something new – taking some of that good gaming retreat content to a broader audience at Gamehole Con!
As the delta variant has come on, I’ve been a little anxious about this whole plan, but I’m thankful that Gamehole Con has had a vaccine mandate and will be enforcing that for all attendees. This makes me feel a little safer. If you are curious about what Biblical gaming can look like and you’re fully vaccinated, think about joining me for some games in Madison, Wisconsin this October!
On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I will run eight games in a series I’m calling “Adventures of Biblical Proportions”. Each session will stand alone as a one-shot experience, though players who come back multiple times will notice ways that the stories interconnect. Each session will explore a different passage of the Bible from the New Testament, inviting players to enter into the Biblical story and experience it firsthand. These games will be part history, part legend, with each exploring a different gaming “flavor”, be it the supernatural or social horror or the backdrop of war.
These games will be run using the Cypher System, which I have found to be a more adaptable TTRPG alternative to D&D 5e. D&D 5e is a great system that I love deeply. Some of these adventures saw their beginnings as 5e adventures, and worked to great effect. However I’ve also found that the 5e learning curve can be a little steeper and I appreciate the simplicity of a more story-focused system like Cypher, especially when engaging with church groups which may or may not have any tabletop gaming background.
Alright, enough with the blathering. Let’s get to a rundown of those games!
Adventures of Biblical Proportions!
Gamehole Con 2021
- Chains in the Graveyard – Fri., Oct 22nd, 9am
- Protect the people from the powers of the graveyard in a supernatural horror adventure.
- Faster Than Stones – Fri., Oct 22nd, 1pm
- Outrun the threat of death in a social thriller adventure.
- Release to the Captives – Fri., Oct 22nd, 4pm
- Grant release to the captives in an adventure of angelic secrecy.
- Island Odyssey – Sat., Oct 23rd, 9am
- Go on an Island Odyssey in a game of fantastic adventure.
- Idols of Athens – Sat., Oct 23rd, 1pm
- Explore the idols of Athens in a monstrously metaphorical adventure.
- Mystery of Ephesus – Sat., Oct 23rd, 4pm
- Explore the mystery of Ephesus in a supernatural investigative adventure.
- A Monstrous Appetite (Revelation Part I) – Sun., Oct 24th, 9am
- Confront the appetite of dragons in a monstrously mythic adventure. This adventure can be played alone or as part of a two-part series based on the Book of Revelation.
- Beasts on the Earth (Revelation Part II) – Sun., Oct 24th, 12pm
- Confront the wide sweeping machinations of beasts in a mythic wartime adventure. This adventure can be played alone or as part of a two-part series based on the Book of Revelation.
If you’re coming to Gamehole Con, it would be great to play with you. Sign ups for these games are live over at gamehole.com!