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Instant Adventures, Part III -- GM Intrusions

Let's return to the subject of Instant Adventures. In part I we took them apart and saw how to build our own. In part II we had an example using Numenera, complete with toadling queens. Today let's talk about GM Intrusions. You need to have GM Intrusions for your players to get xp and to keep the game interesting. We want to be sure to use GM Intrusions in our own Instant Adventures.


Many GMs new to the cypher system say they forget to do GM Intrusions. Hint: pass out physical objects for xp when you do a GM Intrusion. Use cards, poker chips, dragon tears, whatever.  The deck/pile of xp objects in front of you will remind you to keep on doing it.

Monte Cook Games sells xp decks; I like them, but anything will do.

Almost all creatures for Cypher System games come with a built in GM Intrusions. (All of the creatures from Dread Unicorn Games' Cypher System books do.) I like to start combat with a GM Intrusion. It shows off a cool ability and I can do it again if the players roll 1s.

Floater; Numenera; Dread Unicorn Games

Now if you just made up a bunch of creatures, like my toadlings in the example Instant Adventure, you can make up GM Intrusions for them. Let's go!

  • Margrs and Nibovian Wives are from the Core book, and already have GM Intrusions in their callouts. See pages 244 and 249. The Nibovian Wife's GM Intrusion is an escape, which is great for avoiding combat, particularly if time is running short.
  • Toadling GM Intrusion: a swarm frenzies, attacking at 2 levels higher (6) and doing 12 points of damage.
  • Toadling Queen GM Intrusion: She spits a glob of acidic poison at a character's face. Level 6 attack for 4 points of ambient damage, plus the character has to make a Level 6 Might defense check or take another 4 points of poison damage.
  • Toadling King GM Intrusion: He hops into the air and lands on a character. This is a level 7 attack which does 5 points of ambient damage and dazes them for one round.

Note: these attack GM Intrusions are extra attacks, so the creature can follow up with it's normal attack.

MasksNow, let's make up some social GM Intrusions:

  • Uncle Liskal GM Intrusion: a character in Liskal's chamber must make a level 6 Intellect defense roll or for the next 28 hours refer to the AI as "Uncle Liskal" and feel compelled to impress the machine. "When Uncle Liskal hears how I dealt with this problem, he'll really be impressed." (Probably not.)
  • The Song of Love GM Intrusion: if none of the male characters are falling for Klaru's charms, use a GM Intrusion to change one of their minds. "Despite you better judgement, there is something about her that makes you throw your caution (and clothing) to the wind."
  • Faux pas with the Queen GM Intrusion: the slimy floor is too much for a character, causing them to slip and fall, right onto one of the queen's offspring. The little toadling croaks in pain!
  • Jealous King GM Intrusion: If the characters fixed the moon pool to gain the queen's help, she plants a slimy kiss on a character before they go to see the king. He sniffs the character "You've been fooling around with one of my queens! I can smell her on you!"

You get the idea. Things to make the game a little more interesting, to keep the story exciting, and to give everyone at the table a good laugh. And xp.

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