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The Strange Bundle – recursion-spanning roleplaying from Monte Cook Games

The Strange Bundle – recursion-spanning roleplaying from Monte Cook Games

by Monday 12 October 2015
TheStrange-CorebookIn October 2015 we presented The Strange Bundle, featuring Bruce R. Cordell’s Cypher System RPG The Strange from Monte Cook Games, publisher of Numenera.

Beneath our universe lies a network of dark energy, a swirling Chaosphere called the Strange. The Strange is an alien data network that hosts myriad worlds, or “recursions.” These small universes operate by their own laws of reality, reflected from human experience or imagination.

Recursions are created, but not always consciously. On the prime of Earth in particular, the unconscious creative force driven by the writing and reading (and playing) of fiction can have unintended consequences, and spawn worldlets in the Strange through a process called “fictional bleed.” Explorers could accidentally stumble on Sherlock Holmes’ London, Lovecraft’s Innsmouth, or Olympus from Greek myth. Literally every roleplaying world you’ve ever seen can be a recursion.

Recursions teem with life, incredible treasures, and sudden danger — and some of these worlds are jealous of our own. The secrets of the recursions lure the brave, the daring, and the unscrupulous. These explorers in turn draw dangerous enemies from these recursions back to our Earth. And slowly but inexorably, Earth draws attention from beings of unfathomable power and evil, deep in the unknown reaches of The Strange.

TheStrange-EschatologyCodePlayer characters are explorers who travel to these recursions as a part of their various missions or goals. Moving between recursions is a process called translation, and it involves inhabiting an entirely new form with different abilities and gear. In a given scenario, the characters might travel to multiple worlds and occupy a sequence of bodies. In each recursion, they capitalize on the equipment and abilities they have to solve problems and perform necessary tasks.

A group of PCs can pool their abilities and resources to create their own recursion and host it within the Strange. This starts as a small world-seed, just large enough for a refuge for the characters, but it can grow into something far larger, with rules of reality designed by its creators. Can they defend this fragile, newborn world from those that would feed upon its energy?

The Strange uses Monte Cook’s Cypher System rules introduced in Numenera. If you’ve played Numenera, you already know how to play The Strange. And if not, don’t worry — The Strange is a standalone game with everything you need to play. Get ready to visit myriad pocket dimensions that encompass every campaign setting you’ve ever imagined.

TheStrange-PlayersGuideOur Player’s Collection included four titles (retail value $41) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • The Strange (retail price $20): The beautiful full-color 418-page rulebook with character creation, sample recursions, and the complete Cypher System. Includes the free recursion Ohunkakan: The Living Myths.
  • The Strange Player’s Guide (retail $8): Create characters, explore the setting, and learn how to play with this 96-page extract from the complete rulebook. Includes six pre-generated characters.
  • In Translation: The Strange Character Options (retail $10): More than 50 new abilities for paradoxes, vectors, and spinners — moves, revisions, twists, descriptors, and foci.
  • Swordbreakers (retail $3): These elite operatives in the Ardeyn recursion can be an affiliate organization for characters who want to expand their horizons.
TheStrange-Bestiary>Those who paid more than the threshold price rose in tier and also got our entire Gamemaster’s Collection of seven more titles (retail value $54):

  • Worlds Numberless and Strange (retail $17): A 226-page guide to nearly 70 new recursions.
  • The Strange Bestiary (retail $15): 140 bizarre and imaginative creatures encountered on Earth, Ardeyn, Ruk, Crow Hollow, and Atom Nocturne — all compatible with Numenera.
  • The Dark Spiral (retail $10): Investigating the drug Spiral Dust, the operatives fight the malign alien Dustman. These linked adventures make an ideal starting campaign.
  • The Estate Dossiers (retail $2): Clever props to print and hand out to your players as their operatives prepare for missions.
  • When Worlds Collide: Converting Numenera and The Strange (retail $4): Loot the stuff in one Cypher System RPG for your campaign in the other, or mash both games together.
  • Plus The Strange GM Screen (retail $2) and the introductory adventure Eschatology Code (retail $4).
TheStrange-DarkSpiralThat’s a $95 value, a better deal than you’ll find anywhere in the Market Tri-Tower of Harmonious, the Glistening City. Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) went to this offer’s designated charity, Human Rights Watch.