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November 11, 2013

Hot Topic: The Strange Frame

After posting my last piece on Telling Frame Stories I looked at this kickstarter for The Strange.  By Monte Cook Games, The Strange is an RPG about interdimensional adventures.  It's like a "Fringe" or Dark Tower RPG meets TORG or RIFTS.  There really hasn't been an RPG like this for a while.

In my Frame Stories piece, I talked about the players taking the roles of different characters across time and space.  The Strange will allow you to do that across dimensions and sci-fi and fantasy genre tropes without leaving the singular narrative of your campaign.

I think the Frame Story is the ideal setup for The Strange, because while dimension hopping is fun, it doesn't have to be the only way to tell stories across different recursions.  You can even tell stories that jump back in time in the current narrative, describing recursions that have ended.

So now an example campaign idea...  You know I'm addicted to examples!

You could start with hard boiled New York organized crime task force detectives.  Your first adventure would be investigating several new gangs in Brooklyn.  You make an arrest a strange figure who seems to be key to one new gang of assassins, transition to sword and sorcery as he gives a Usual Suspects story -- but set in fantasyland -- about the awakening of a dark god and a religious conflict spilling out across the Strange into Brooklyn.  You would play through the suspect's story, which would be a series of two fantasy world sword and sorcery "good guys vs. evil cult" adventures, except that you're doomed to fail and eventually flee across the Strange to Brooklyn.  And because you're starting with the frame story (NYC detectives) the players will accept this premise!

After the fantasy story, we return to the NYC cop drama to investigate more gangs (now identified as warring refugee groups from other dimensions).  We meet a character from a sci-fi universe who's a refugee from a new war against mysterious aliens, and play through his story...  Only to discover that an infectious psionic disease awoke across several races across the galaxy in that recursion, and those people started working as a hive mind with a dark purpose...

Ultimately the players will discover a narrative about a dark god awakening in multiple recursions of Earth, threatening to come to Brooklyn and infect the people of New York (and eventually all of Earth).  And they eventually learn why the evil god can't get to Brooklyn yet.  But he's sent his minions there to destroy the one thing holding him back...

So if you want to get Strange, go to the kickstarter page.  I think the All the eBooks package is the best value, but that may be because my dance card is full.  If your group is looking for a cool new game right now, then you might want to spring for a print core book, or maybe the pricey (but fair) All the Print Books option.

If you're reading this after 11/22/13, go to Monte Cook Games or your local game store to find The Strange.

(I was not paid or any way compensated to write this by the way)

1 comment:

  1. Geeking out some more...

    You could TOTALLY run a Dark Tower RPG using The Strange with no house rules except that the PCs would not change when they crossed into different Recursions. Or maybe they would, and it would be a new aspect of Ka, or the nature of traveling along a different beam!