CAPSULE REVIEW – THE STRANGE RPG


The Strange RPG book by Bruce R. Cordell and Monte Cook.

The Strange RPG book by Bruce R. Cordell and Monte Cook.

So, I had my weekend planned out since the beginning of the week, and I was on my way out on Saturday when I got a knock at the door.

It was UPS with a parcel.

To my surprise, it was the hardcover book of The Strange role playing game, a game I helped fund through Kickstarter. It’s my first experience with Kickstarter, and to be honest I expected delays based on other people’s projects I’ve seen or heard from before.

The original estimated delivery for the hardcover book was August 2014 and I got this book in the mail on Aug. 2, so I would say my first experience with Kickstarter is off to a pretty good start, and I could say the same as well with The Strange.

I thought I would provide a few pics of the book and give some brief impressions of what I’ve read so far.

In The Strange, by Bruce R. Cordell and Monte Cook, players can take the roles of characters from modern day earth and change or “translate” into other beings as they explore worlds that include the fantasy, magical world of Ardeyn and the alien bio mechanical world of Ruk.

The Strange is the second RPG game produced by Monte Cook Games following their success of the Numenera RPG, and it’s just as weird and fantastic with a mix of fantasy, science fiction and espionage thrown in the pot.

The game is based on the idea of a “chaotic” network of energy beneath our universe known as the Strange where countless “recursions” or worlds with their own laws of reality exist, a concept that I really like and one of the main factors that brought me to the game.

You explore the worlds of The Strange in one of three character classes ranging from the vector (fighter), paradox (sorcerer) or spinner (rogue).

Ruk art from The Strange RPG. (Source: thestrangerpg.com)

Ruk art from The Strange RPG. (Source: thestrangerpg.com)

Some of the strange and weird environments and beings from The Strange RPG core book.

Some of the strange and weird environments and beings from The Strange RPG core book.

Ardeyn art from The Strange RPG (Source: www.thestrangerpg.com)

Ardeyn art from The Strange RPG (Source: http://www.thestrangerpg.com)

Players already familiar with Numenera will breeze right through the rules in The Strange since they are based on the same d20 concepts where skills and combat are resolved through a difficulty scale rated from 1 to 10.

Cyphers, one-use items with special effects, are also present in the game where the devices only have a single use, but there is an abundance of them to be found.

One of my favorite aspects of The Strange is recursions or “limited worlds.”

Aside from players “translating” to strange beings to explore new worlds,  players could also possibly create their own recursions.

The Strange encourages not only game masters, but players as well to let their imaginations take them to worlds based on other fictional works or from their own ideas; the book provides a section detailing the creation of recursions.

The book also contains chapters on the aforementioned recursions of Ardeyn and Ruk, and provides some details on other worlds including the hazardous metal moon, Graveyard of the Machine God, and a few familiar worlds from the public domain, like Oz and Innsmouth.

There’s also more than 50 unusual creatures and beasts, most unique and a few familiar,  to populate your games like the Soulshorn, a human or qephilim that used necromatic sorcery to remove its soul without killing itself, and has a nasty attack of using bolts of flesh-decaying energy against its targets.

Art piece from the back cover of The Strange RPG.

Art piece from the back cover of The Strange RPG.

A couple of pages from The Strange RPG book.

A couple of pages from The Strange RPG book.

Ardeyn art from The Strange RPG (Source: www.MonteCookGames.com)

Ardeyn art from The Strange RPG (Source: http://www.MonteCookGames.com)

As you can see from above, the production quality of The Strange is amazing, from the gorgeous book cover to the interior art and layout. The art in the Ardeyn chapter is the standout for me, depicting images of the grandeur and beauty of the sword and sorcery world.

The book also comes with a well-detailed enormous double-sided fold out map that shows the worlds of Ardeyn and Ruk.

The Strange, with its infinite number of possible recursions, is a chance for players to jump into worlds that cater to different genres. If you’ve ever wanted to visit settings from your favorite movie or book, or take part in adventures in strange and amazing worlds, The Strange has you covered.

The Strange RPG by Bruce R. Cordell and Monte Cook.

The Strange RPG by Bruce R. Cordell and Monte Cook.

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Categories: Role Playing GamesTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 comments

  1. I found this review helpful in my decision of getting The Strange core book, I was on the fence, but this helped.

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