Vurt: Cypher System

Like Trask and Stuart, I attended Gencon this year. It was an epic Con; possibly my favorite to date. Stu and Trask covered many of the games I went to, so I won’t be rehashing those experiences. But, I was lucky to venture out on my own and play some good games. I’ll be covering one that I found worthy of mention; “Vurt the RPG” (Vurt).


I first heard of Vurt in May, when I was perusing the event list and came across a third party game based on Monte Cook Game’s Cypher System. We’ve played the Cypher system since its introduction, so I thought this would be an interesting game to try.

Vurt was successfully Kickstarted by Ravendesk games in 2015. I wasn’t following it, and only recently heard of it, but the skinny is that it is based on a series of books by Jeff Noon. Vurt’s world is a very dark, yet colorful future that revolves around feathers. Each feather is a passage into a shared dream world, where the color of the feather relates to the realism and safety of the new world. The system was typical Cypher with a few modifications.


Our adventure began in one of these dream worlds called Balloon Quixote. I played Irvine a RoboMan Mathemagician Who Doesn’t Do Shit. For those of you who know Cypher you will notice that Ravendesk has replaced the descriptor with what they call mode (aka race). But don’t worry there are plenty of modes in Vurt to keep the field of PCs varied. My cohorts and I quickly fumbled our interaction with the dream world and were ejected only to discover our goal was to determine who had designed this particularly rare feather. The rest of the game was spent visiting colorful locations and making shady deals with various imaginative characters trying to locate another copy of the rare feather—to complete our mission. This culminated in a final trip into the tainted world of a bootlegged version of the feather in which we faced real dangers from the untamed dream world. In the end we were victorious and learned the name of the designer in the final credits of the feather.

Overall I found the experience very enjoyable. I have always had a soft spot for Cyberpunk type games and this fits into that genre with a few fantasy twists. Our GM was very knowledgeable of the world and provided colorful descriptions of locations and characters during every scene. My favorite scene was when nearly the whole party drew various firearms on a group of dogmen gang-bangers that came looking for trouble. Apparently guns are very rare in Vurt but our group had managed to draw all the guns from a random pile of weapons that was mostly populated with knives and brass knuckles. This resulted in their rapid retreat from wherever they had come from with their tails between their legs. I think the GM was surprised as the Dogmen.



Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.