I've been answering a few Cypher system questions recently and I keep encountering cases where the issue being discussed has a justification within the revised version of the core rulebook.

In my answers I've been clearly describing how in the revised versions of the rules x can be explained by y as they are nominally backwards compatible. And I'm encountering comments from the interlocutor, for example from the querent on this answer of mine: Action per target to initiate VS Edge

In my book, it's only a Third-Tier Speaker ability. And even if you have just one intellect Edge, it's at least better to use the action again and again than using Effort. And it's the same with all the abilities who use Effort to add targets but when you need to use one round per additionnal target. When you have something like this and appropriate Edge, Effort is useless. – ShubbNiggu 2 hours ago

This mustn't be a unique problem to the Cypher system though. There are several iterations of the burning wheel Gold core books which incorporate rule changes clarifications and other errata.

It's disingenuous to describe these revised works as new editions akin to D&D edition differences and create tags for minor iterations splitting the knowledge-base.

How do I explain in my answers that the answer may not be present in an outdated core rule book?

Am I right in using the most up to date versions of the rules to form my answers when a version is not specified?

If not should I present the updates from the freshest version, for the sake of completeness?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Does each new printing say specifically that previous rules are superseded by new rules? (For example, D&D 3.5 has—kinda—a meta rule like this; see here.) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 12, 2019 at 17:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not really. There is a paragraph in the intro along the lines of saying the revised edition is backwards compatible and the system fundamentally hasn't changed. Nothing as developed as D&D primary sources. \$\endgroup\$
    – Litany
    Nov 12, 2019 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


Not all revised editions are considered useful errata to previous editions. Sometimes information from a newer edition will be helpful to illuminate how something is originally supposed to work, but other times new information is a change rather than a clarification of the earlier edition.

As a general rule of thumb, check with the asker if answers based on later editions are relevant to their question.

Absent asker interaction, best to not assume: if it’s not certain that the new edition’s version of a rule or material is a clarification, assume that it’s a change and not necessarily helpful for players of the earlier edition.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Would you include additional options in your definition of changes? I'm thinking in my specific example this may be a case of the former and not the later. I don't think I'm comfortable answering questions assuming the newer and only commercially available versions are not being used. If it were a programming question I'd tell the user to move on to the supported version. \$\endgroup\$
    – Litany
    Nov 14, 2019 at 16:27
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Litany I would still say don’t assume, and try to check. Ask if options added by [specific edition] would make a useful answer. Roleplaying games don’t care at all about commercial availability as people often prefer certain editions and they will never stop running on current “hardware”, don’t need “support”, and not all added options are welcome—the 1974 edition of D&D is still actively played and recruited for, for just one example of many—so thinking of it through that software-like lens isn’t going to help you make good judgements about RPG edition relationships. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 14, 2019 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've taken all this on board and accepted the answer because I think the reasoning does apply, I do want to emphasise that these aren't new editions in the traditional D&D sense. I do think the answer confuses the idea of an edition and what this question was referring to. Like a Star Wars sequel compared to a Star Wars remaster. \$\endgroup\$
    – Litany
    Nov 15, 2019 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Litany I know well that there’s a spectrum of what “editions” means in RPGs and that D&D’s radical differences is an outlier, with something like Call of Cthulhu’s pre-7e editions on the other end. But, it’s a spectrum: with that much variability, we can’t assume. I myself don’t know how much changed between Cypher and Cypher Revised, but if you’re getting pushback, that’s a very good sign that the edition changes are different enough that the play community doesn’t consider it a mere textual revision within a single game and see it more as a change of game. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2019 at 16:17

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