Cypher System: X-COM Creatures

Today, following up yesterday’s post about running X-COM as a Cypher System game, I’m going to convert a few of the enemies that can be encountered in the video game to the format found in the CSR for use in games.

Name: Sectoid

Appearance: Reptilian-looking versions of Grey aliens.

Level: 2 (6)

Motive: Sowing terror among humanity; obedience to the Ethereals

Environment: Anywhere, dropped by alien craft and drop pods

Health: 10

Damage Inflicted: 2 (ignores 1 point of Armor)

Movement: Short

Modifications: Level 3 when avoiding attacks, due to size and agility; level 4 defending against Intellect attacks.

Combat: In combat, sectoids are the first-in recon and light infantry of the alien campaign. Preferring to skulk in dark places and attack from concealment, they’re not a major threat to anyone well-equipped, but to the average citizen they can be an absolute terror. Their weapons are energy-based pistols shaped for their spindly hands, rigged to self-destruct when their owner dies, which bypass a point of Armor when they hit.

A group of three to five sectoids can form a psychically linked squad, elevating them to a level 5 creature that can make two attacks that each deals 4 damage and bypasses a point of armor. In this state, their hive awareness allows them to avoid attacks as a level 6 creature. Killing 50% or more of the group in a single combat round causes the others to expire as well from biofeedback.

Interaction: Minimal. Sectoids are engineered clones that serve as fear-inducing tools in the plans of the Ethereals. More powerful versions, the Sectoid Commanders, exist as well; these are level 4 creatures that can control those of a lower level, manipulating them as puppets. They often use such controlled individuals in terror tactics, allowing the victims control of their own voices and freedom of thought as they force them to publicly kill themselves.


Thin Man

Appearance: Freakishly tall, elongated humanoids in concealing clothing with reptilian eyes. If you think Slenderman with reptilian traits you’ll be close.

Level: 3 (9)

Motive: Sowing terror, infiltration and kidnapping

Environment: Any (mostly urban)

Health: 20

Damage Inflicted: 5 (Light Plasma Rifle; ignores one point of Armor) or 2 plus 1 ongoing Might Damage from poison

Movement: Long; their elongated frames and flexible structure let them move with an unnerving speed and agility

Modifications: When spitting poison, they operate at level 4; infiltration as a level 5; Speed Defense as a level 5

Combat: Thin Men, despite their agility and accuracy with their venomous spit, prefer to rely on the light plasma rifles they carry. These are readily concealed under their clothing, and the only clue to the presence of a Thin Man infiltrator are touches of mottled green skin and reptilian eyes hidden behind sunglasses.

When killed, Thin Men erupt into a lingering cloud of poison gas with the same damage values as their venomous spit, covering a short range around them. Hand to hand is ill-advised as a result, even though they don’t have any significant melee capabilities. Thin Man venom is particularly nasty, not responding to any known antivenin unless one is specifically researched.

Thin Men prefer to attack from ambush and have a preference for taking hostages to fulfill their missions; the fact that they casually kill most of the hostages if their mission succeeds is only that much more horrible for those trying to negotiate with the creatures.

Interaction: Thin Men are more likely to interact with players than any other non-Ethereal alien; their voices have an unsettling timbre when they aren’t actively disguising it, and they’re perfectly willing to negotiate – but almost always in poor faith, with an intent to betray any bargain when it becomes convenient for them to do so.



Appearance: Huge, cybernetically enhanced brutes that are all the more terrifying for being calculating, cunning foes who engage in tactical maneuvers.

Level: 5 (15)

Motive: Desire to sow terror, hunger, fear of the Ethereals

Environment: Any

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 5 (Light Plasma Rifle; ignores 1 Armor); 7 (Standard Plasma Rifle; ignores 1 Armor); or 5 (Claws; ignores 2 Armor)

Movement: Short

Modifications: Resists psychic effects as a level 2; intimidation effects as level 7

Armor: 3

Combat: Mutons are the heavy infantry of the alien forces, and it shows. Heavily armed and armored, a squad of Mutons is more than a match for conventional military forces, although they fall easily once psychic powers come into play. Despite their bestial physique, Mutons are intelligent opponents, fighting tactically with the use of suppressive fire, weapons like grenades, and the use of terror tactics.

Mutons are also capable of inspiring each other; the leader of a given squad will often bellow things that seem like a combination of battle cries and orders; one identified as a Blood Call is particularly ugly, as it drives the other Mutons in a squad to move more quickly. For the next two turns, all Mutons who witnessed the Blood Call have a movement of Long.

Interaction: Little possible; if captured alive, Mutons prove to be fanatically loyal to the alien forces due to their overwhelming fear of the Ethereals, indoctrinated from birth. Despite the value of a functioning plasma rifle, attempting to keep a Muton captive to keep the weapon functional is a dangerous business; if ti manages to escape it can wreak immense havoc while breaking out.

That finishes it up for today; I may well revisit this in the near future, with more conversions and sample missions for an X-COM campaign. We’ll see!

Cypher System: X-COM Creatures

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