By Jason Campbell

In Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System player characters aren’t defined by a class, but by a sentence. That sentence takes the form of “I am an adjective noun who verbs”, where the adjective is known as the descriptor, the noun is the type and the verb is the focus. An example would be, “I am a Charming Explorer who Speaks For the Land”. Each of the components of the sentence give the pc some skills and abilities. 

cypher systems

Translating Dungeons & Dragons Characters

Many people come to the Cypher System from Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder, and many of those players ask how to translate their D&D characters to the Cypher System. It’s good advice to not look for a direct translation, as despite some similarities between types such as Speaker with D&D classes such as Bard. The various Cypher System types aren’t meant to be the equivalent of classes. Instead it’s better to take a virtual step back and keep in mind the character concept that lead to the player choosing the D&D class. 

Using Cypher System Types

Dungeons & Dragons forces each player to choose a class (or more if the character multi-classes later) and then to an extent uses the classes’ attributes to define the character. As an example, a pious leader of the people could be a cleric, yet so could a supportive healer or a religious defender. To create a character based on a cleric the player should use their underlying character concept to build their new pc’s sentence. For instance the pious leader might be a Speaker type, the supportive healer might be an Adept type while the religious defender might be a Warrior type. 


Dungeons & Dragons and other 5e based games, Pathfinder and Cypher System are all very different games. It’s best to lean into what each system does best as far as character creation. This can be done by asking yourself who the character is, not in mechanical terms, but in terms of their goals and personality. Using those values to inform your character choices at creation will yield the best version of your character. 

What do you think? Have you created similar characters in different TTRPG systems? Let us know in the comments.