But what is it?

Hi guys,

I have looked up The Strange and didn´t find anything that really explained what it was about. I know there are multiple universes and that there is some kind repitition of char creation but I really didn´t get what The Strange was about.
I would really apreciate it if someone would explain that to me without having to buy the 50 € rulebook :/


  • Have you ever watched the American TV shows of "Warehouse 13" or "The Librarians"? They make a good run of the basic ideas used in the Strange. Some artifacts throughout human history have been so important that they have gathered a form of magic, making them very powerful. So powerful that they can control or change the world that we live in. Even to the point of creating small pocket worlds for them to reside. In the Strange those things exist. But they are not the only things that have that kind of power. Certain places, people and ideas can do the same.

    The characters that you play in the Strange have been touched by the ether that all those pocket worlds reside and give those artifacts their power, and they can manipulate it just enough to travel back and forth to those worlds, handle the artifacts and gain powers themselves. There are several organizations that employ those types of people to do just that; either to reclaim the artifacts, close the rifts that allow passage to the pocket worlds or even to protect the pocket worlds from the other organizations. But they don't have to work for any of them, its just an easy game trope to get the characters where you want them to go.

    Each time the characters travel to one of those pocket worlds their abilities and some basic knowledge will change so that they can fit in, its called translation. But not everything translates. Some cyphers and artifacts only work in the worlds they are from and will not travel to the others. Making the Character's jobs that much more difficult.

    It's an Urban Fantasy Game that can literally go anywhere. You want to know what the FBI Agent and the Kindergarten Teacher would do in a Star Wars setting? You can do it. You want them to fight goblins in Piccadilly Square? You can do that too. You want them to stop Kirasawa from filming his next samurai epic in medieval Japan? You can make that happen too. AND still have the characters home for brunch, if they are good at what they do.
  • So on YouTube, on the Monte Cook Games channel there are several videos about the Strange and how to play and such. You can check those videos out too, don't just take my word on it. I may be close but I don't own the books either.
  • The Cyphercast games obviously try to create new scenarios and situations for the players to act in. In Numenera that is done by switching the mundane and the weird. In TS that is by...? Simply forcing differnet scenarios togather and seeing how the players cope?

    I played a couple of sessions on Numenera and found a flaw in the overly weird world. The problem with Numenera beeing that if everything is strange, nothing is. It is very hard to balance the weirdness against the mundane so the players can work the environment. So basicaly you have to create a scenario that is strange and facinating but just so relateable that the players are still able to interact with it.
    How does that work in TS? Do you just jumble some awesome things togather and create a DR. Whoish sense of narative? And how often do you jump to the next dimension?

    Since I hva found these flaws with Numenra i started tinkering with another idea. After rewatching "Twin Peaks" and the first season of "Fringe" I found the contemporary and realistic setting very alluring for a campain, simply because the strange and weird would stand out mutch more. The idea is that the players start the campain as HR guys, retail workers or just regular people and suddenly the laws of physics change overnight. Pockets of anti-gravity make cars fly of the highways, strange creatures appear and when you go down a street you arive in a completely differnt city. The players would earn their special abilites by acting in this world and not simply by character creation, e.g. the player falls into a bucket of mutagens and becomes a mutant, he gets struck by lightning and is able to control electricity.
    Storywise you could go in any direction. Post-apocalytic survival, finding out what created these changes and so on.
    But still I´m not comfortable with that idea. It takes a lot of suspension of disbelief to pull that off, especially if the scenario is too familiar. So what does TS propose in these situations?
  • “If everything is strange, then nothing is”.

    I have to disagree with this in the Ninth World. Not everything has to be strange; it just has to be commonplace to the denizens of the Ninth World. Then you inject the weird; what the inhabitants of the world would find weird.

    Think of a medieval village in England with a fountain that produces unlimited quantities of pure, clean water. Where does the water come from? The current villagers either don’t know or care; it’s just normal to them that it does.

    An example: Sica Sendrillar (my character) has settled for a time in an aldeia known as Reacher’s Shade. Set in an area of dry lands where the sun beats down; the aldeia is a collection of huts and houses, with some larger buildings. Rising from the centre is a huge stalk, blossoming out into a domed mushroom cap 80’ above the aldeia. Water is pumped up the central stalk, to flow over the cap and rain like a curtain round the edges. The water flows back through an aquifer to be pumped again. The power comes from PV panels on the upper dome, which also powers the aldeia.

    The inhabitants don’t think this is strange or weird; it just IS and it is where they live.

    One day, a scavenger came into the Shade, pulling a handcart on which was a plane of light. He hoped to sell it in the market. He found it out in the desert.

    Now this is weird. The inhabitants haven’t seen this before.

    Sica came down to the market to look at it. The plane of light began to pursue him, easily slicing through anything in the way. Sica ran; the plane followed him. It sliced through walls and wagons / carts; finally through the main stalk and the canopy became unstable. However, when faced with a group of panicking people; it just pushed them aside. Sica pulled his Reaper and turned and faced the plane. It rotated ninety degrees and a message appeared:

    “Happy birthday Slydo! There’s a job going down in Iscobal if you’re interested. Dollan put in the word for you; you’ll get 15%. Be in the ‘Jade Tavern’ by next full moon if you’re in.”

    The plane disappeared and Sica went to his room and started to pack. Next stop; Mulen, in Iscobal.
  • I might have exaggerated a bit when I said that. But that acutally falls in line with I wanted to say.
    In Numenera, the weird is created by weighing the expectation of weird with the expectation of mundane. So if you´re in a place where the rain usually falls from the ground, that´s not weird. But in the matter of game design, everything in Numenera is weighted against the players expecation of weird. So if in this place the rain starts falling from the sky it might be weird for the characters, but not for the players in person. They might think:"Oh, thats not so bad." If I go along and create a really strange world, it becomes unrelateable, seemingly random and hard for the players to interact.

    So why mixing these two opposites up? Why not create a relatively normal world (like ours, or a generic fantasy/SF world), and put the weird on top of it? And thats where TS comes into play, I think.
    As far as I understand TS consists of worlds one might know from SF or fantasy movies. The GM can use expressions like "That looks like a car", without beeing non immersive, because it is relativley known what a car is.
    Imagine the possibilities for a Cyphercast char to act and interact in a "normal" world. You cobble your cyphers not from acient tech you don´t get anyway but from a toaster, some rubber gloves and glue and you don´t have to beat about the bush to sustain credibility.

    I really enjoy the world of Numenera and the Cyphercast system in general, but the longer I play the stronger I get the impression you either end playing a high fantasy campain with better ruins and stuff or you end up playing some kind of SF game. Both are alright, but I want more.

    it´s like all these Lovecraft stories. They are awesome and entertaining, but in the end it´s always about some hidden evil that´s far to mysterious and dogmatic to understand, so the PCs in this world would either go mad or ignore half the facts.
  • The main issue I've run into with The Strange is similar to yours: I just want more. I don't quite know what that "more" is but I feel, of what I have seen TS just doesn't have it. In the first three issues of the Cyphercast Magazine they created an Incursion called Holstenwall. I loved this scenario. It is, according to the rules of The Strange, a semi-permanent pocket world based on gothic literature and weird science. The scenario is to stop a group of mad scientists from creating a Frankenstein's monster type creature or worse that could actually cross the barriers into the real world and kill and maim and so on. I mean that is cool by itself but I wanted more. I thought it could use an investigative portion and a chase to broaden the scope of the whole adventure so that the characters could get a better grasp on the whole Victorian/gothic feel of the world. but it was just supposed to be like a pitstop on the normal adventure not a as big a thing as I thought it could or should be.
    I feel the same way about the scenarios put forth in the ten instant adventures MCG published for The Strange as well. I did buy that book. They are good, but it on the whole, isn't quite good enough.

    It could be that we (you Felix, Jester and even me) are not giving The Strange a good shake. We like the ideas and the world the MCG created with Numenera so we've bought in with buying the books and reading all the available text and such. But, by not completely buying in to the ideas and the world of The Strange we are more apt to ignore it and not give it the fair shake it might deserve. I felt the same way when TSR released the Gamma World games, so many years ago. I was so used to playing in and enjoying the D&D realms that a space opera based game, even though it used the same system, was going to be out of the question. I think this was the issue when Wizards later released their D20 Modern game as well. From what I can tell, because like Gamma World I didn't buy the books, The Strange is just out of our wheelhouse. An urban adventure game, in a more "real world" setting just doesn't feel quite right and our ability to suspend belief just isn't there. Don't get me wrong, I love some of the concepts and may even use them in future games but probably not in their setting.
  • I don't have the TS books but I have read about it. ATM, The Wayfarers are having too much fun with Numenera (as am I.) I have toyed with using the Cypher System to run a Pulp 1930's Game but I don't have the time to set it up and I'm not sure I'd enjoy it so much. Numenera at the moment is our No. 1.
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