Contact Me

Use this form to contact me, or send your email directly to



This is the blog of Larcenous Designs, LLC, through which I (Nathan Rockwood) will be publishing thoughts and ramblings related to my business' projects, which may include anything related to games, game design, and the use of gaming in education. 

Comments will be moderated without mercy.

Design Notes: CyForge

Nathan Rockwood

I've been running Numenera for a group of 9 high school students every week for this past school year, and I've started running into a problem: I'm often not happy with the cyphers I'm providing.

I love the long random lists and the cypher deck that I have for the system, but now that I've got the hang of the rules, I find myself constantly altering the results to tailor them better to fit the current situation, setting, and characters. I could, of course, just make a new list, or design specific cyphers however I want, but neither of those options are appealing to me. For not only "fairness" but also longevity, I want a solution that produces cyphers which are both partially random and intended to be altered to taste.

The CyForge deck was my solution to this problem. Drawing on ideas from both The GameMaster's Apprentice and the Deck of Tales, I used images (thanks again to the amazing folks at!) and text to provide three keys that let me hammer out a functionally endless number of cyphers (or artifacts, or powers...).

I am, of course, always considering the best way to balance iconography against text. If you have any thoughts on that, please comment below!