The cursed land of Wraeclast changes somewhat when put through the lens of the Cypher System; where Fate focuses on how to render it into a story-format that provides everyone with building blocks to create the story, the Cypher System tends to be more freeform; outside of the characters and their defined abilities, everything in the Cypher system comes down to a thing’s level and the set dressing hung on that detail.
Characters in the Cypher System are comprised of three parts – an adjective (descriptor), a noun (type), and a verb (focus) that are strung together to form a description of the character. For Exile’s Cypher, there’s a need for special attention to the first and last of those components, to allow for the nature of the setting to be played out as players see fit. Interestingly, while each of Path of Exile’s character classes has a decided flavor, you can thematically construct them with any of the Cypher System’s four character types, even though the flavor varies significantly with each.
Descriptors are essentially single words that serve as an adjective to make a given character more unique, modifying the basic statistics of a given character by providing extra skills, equipment, features, and flaws to shape how the character interacts with the world. A Brash character who has the same Type and Focus as a Quiet one will interact with the world very differently, much less in comparison to one who is Cursed or Forgotten.
Types are one of the four things that function as the closest thing the system has to a character class. Coming in flavors of Warriors, Adepts, Explorers, and Speakers, each one can offer something as the base for building a PoE character; some obviously make more sense than others (a Marauder makes more sense as a Warrior than as an Adept, at first glance), odd-looking combinations can be fruitful ground (a Speaker built as a Marauder may persuade the spirits to aid them, and talk the more intelligent foes down from hostility, while a Warrior built as a Witch may be an elemental force of destruction, smashing through all who oppose her in wrathful fury.)
Foci are the real workhorses of the game system, providing a tremendous amount of flavor and specialized capability to each character; this is where the power of a given class will come into play, and is the component most likely to have several posts fleshing out versions for use n Wraeclast; each of the varieties of character can be described through Foci in the form of a verb statement such as Communes With Spirits or Commands The Elements.
Put together it forms a complete one-line description that gives a concise feel for what the character is like; a Brash Warrior who Commands The Dead is a warlike Witch who wades into battle alongside their raised minions, heedless of personal danger, while a Cursed Adept who Fires Runed Arrows is a Ranger whose very existence draws the attention of the lands of Wraeclast.
The next post in the Exile’s Cypher line will look at Descriptors, and how much the existing ones need added to or modified for the purposes of this campaign.