Review: The Strange in Translation Character Options

With the gloomy weather here today it was nice to have something new read over while drinking my coffee this morning. So lets dive in and take a quick look at The Strange in Translation Character Options.

The Strange In Translation Character Options
Writer/Designer Bruce R. Cordell
Developer Monte Cook
Creative Director Shanna Germain
Editor and Proofreader Ray Vallese
Cover Artist Matt Stawicki
Graphic Designer Bear Weiter
Artists Jacob Atienza, Marco Caradonna, Nicholas Cloister, Sam Cullum,,
David Hueso, Baldi Konijn, Guido Kuip, Brandon Leach, Eric Lofgren, Grzegorz Pedrycz,
Mike Perry, John Petersen, Michael Phillippi, Roberto Pitturru, Joe Slucher, Lee Smith,
Matt Stawicki, Cyril Terpent, Cory Trego-Erdner, Tiffany Turrill, Shane Tyree, Cathy Wilkins
Monte Cook Games Editorial Board Scott C. Bourgeois, David Wilson Brown, Eric Coates, Gareth
Hodges, Jeremy Land, Laura Wilkinson, Marina Wold, George Ziets
Page Count: 97
PDF Cost: $9.99

So the newest book in the Strange is now out. I picked it up this morning and started to pick my way through the content. This did not turn out to be the best choice of reading material to drink my morning coffee with. Many pages into the book I had a committed the party foul of cold coffee.
One of the best things about the Cypher system in general is the Foci and descriptors that make each of the character stand alone and unique in the world. Unlike other RPG’s  that become bloated with class after class until they all begin to look the same. Foci and Descriptors have the opposite effect, They further define the character that we play in the game. While maintaining the core concepts of the Type. This is really the beauty of the system.

So what are you getting when you pick up this book. First off your getting a ton of bang for your buck. Anyone that has seen the Numenera Character Options already has some idea of what you will be finding on the pages within. The first section gives you some new options and ability’s for each Charter Type and for each Tier. Giving you more flexibility for your builds. There are some good options here but this is definitely not the core of this book. As it only takes up 9 pages of content. Each class is given two or more new abilities they can pick up at each Tier. Most Tiers have 3 or more new powers. This should add a good bit of flexibility to your games.

Of each of the classes My favorite moves would be.
Vectors Tier 5 move Take Command.
Where the vector can issue commands to his ally’s and if they listen they lower the difficulty to hit and deal more damage.
Paradox Tier 3 ability  Down the Rabbit Hole
Allowing the Paradox to make a pocket dimension for the party to rest in for up to 12 hours.
Spinners Tier 1 Twist Erase Memories
Just plain wicked !

From here we move on Descriptors. If you felt your Strange game or Numenera game needed more of these. This is the book for you. There are nearly twenty new Descriptors in the Character options book and not all are positive. And some of these would be good for more gritty setting games of the Strange. My personal Favorite Descriptors are Addicted, Paranoid and Slacker. Something about them just makes me smile. It’s nice to see more negative descriptors in games. This is good for gritty and grim games of the Strange and the upcoming Cypher System.

And then we get to the bulk of the book.  Over 70 pages and Dozens of Foci. The list is impressive, with the Foci from this book you more than double the number of Foci that you get in the core book alone!  Everything from super hero style Foci to full on Cyberpunk Foci cyborgs! There are some real options out there now for your recursion’s.
My top picks.

Wears an Iron Suit.
Yup you guessed it SUPERS!

Builds Robots
Great for a Supers recursion or a cyberpunk style setting !

Casts Spells
This might be my favorite Foci in the book.

Is a Cyborg
Room for so many great options here !

But there are so very many awesome ones to pick from. I barely hit the tip of the iceberg here. This book will provide you with a huge variety of things to last you well through the upcoming Kickstarter for the Cypher system and beyond !

Lastly but in no way least is the art. I love the people who MCG has been pulling in to do the art for their games. There is just something about it that makes the Cypher system stand out and have a very unique feel. I always enjoy flipping through the art in all of their products. It helps set the stage for your mind.

The big pro here is this book is Packed with Content and great art. As far as the PDF goes everything is hyper linked so you can zip around the PDF at lighting speed as your move from one thing you like to the next. The whole book is also done in MCG games now standard and tell-tale Sidebar format. This makes GM’s and players lives alike much easier. on a personal note I also think it makes the book just plain nicer to look at. Also because I know that the book has sidebars with important content listed and page numbers noted for me to be aware of. It has become second nature to go back and check the highlighted bits after I finish a page and before I move on.

The only Con I have with this product falls to the end of the PDF. We get three full pages of awesome PC portrait art. But why would this be a con you ask ? Because up until now they had said that In Translation was going to have rules for running games beyond Tier Six. I can only guess that the three pages of art were slotted where these rules were going to be in the book. As rules for advancing beyond Tier six are nowhere to be found in this book.
And I image we will see those rules in the upcoming Cypher System Core book.
( EDIT: In my eager child like joy to get to all of the Foci presents that Bruce left for you and me. It seems I completely! missed the giant purple box on page 29 with the brief explanation of how to handle raising your character up beyond 6th Tier!) Thank  you Bruce for not only looking at my blog but personally and politely pointing it out to me! 

Would I recommend it:
This book is going to be a huge boost to all of your Cypher System games. So much of this product can be used in both The Strange and in Numeneara that there is really no reason not to add this product to your collection.
I highly recommend it.

Where can I get a copy ? 
Click the Image below or take this link HERE


The Strange Recursion Design Competition!

So it seems to be a big day over at MCG! First I see Shananna Germain post about the Numeneara Movie becoming a real thing. Then Bruce Cordells tweet I catch a that I nearly missed that The Strange is kicking off a recursion contest ! Here are the details !

Here’s the deal: You submit a recursion (or several recursions—as many as you’d like) to the site between now and February 20th. We’ve assembled a panel of esteemed judges (more on our great judges below!), and on February 21st, they’ll start reviewing the submissions. We’ll announce a winner and two runners up on Friday, February 27th!

But wait: What if you’ve already posted an awesome recursion to The Recursion Codex? Don’t worry: You’re in the running! Our judges will consider all eligible recursions posted to the site by February 20th, including those that are already there.


In addition to fame, celebrity, many hurrahs from those of us at MCG, and general satisfaction in a world well designed, here’s what you’re vying for!

  • Winner: Bruce Cordell will adapt your recursion for inclusion in Worlds Numberless and Strange, the forthcoming sourcebook on recursions. (The book is almost completely written, but we’re saving a little space for your great idea!) You’ll get a copy of the book autographed by Bruce and the entire MCG staff, along with a $25 gift certificate for the MCG store. You’ll be credited in the book for the recursion concept, but please note that Bruce will adapt it, so it may be altered and you will not be given a design credit.
  • First runner up: $25 gift certificate for the MCG store
  • Second runner up: $25 gift certificate for the MCG store

The Official Rules




Monte Cook Games Announcing Cypher System Rulebook

Catching up on this weeks news, with Con recovery and Veterans Day Plus a Birthday yesterday I let a few cool things get by me. But NOT today! Were catching  up on a few cool things that I missed and learned during the convention. The rest of the week will be busy everyone ! So here we go.

Well its about time ! To me and I think many others this has felt like a no brainer for some time.  Well Two days ago Monte Finally announced it. The Cypher System, Simply put. You will be able to bring the Cypher system to any setting you can dream  up and your going to have a big fat book of tools to  make the whole thing awesome.  Coming in the summer of 2015 I for one will be excited to pick up the third book from Monte Cook Games.
On a personal note I wish this would have been the second book of the system.  Many of us thought from its introduction that the Cypher System would have made a great universal setting. So thankfully Monte and company agree !
The book promises to bring a ton of new content in the manner of foci, descriptors, creatures, cyphers and rules.
They have not mentioned anything as to classes yet. I myself am most eager to see what they do with making universal classes, Or maybe far more generic then we have seen with greater Teir Flexibility.  Either way I will be following the updates on this project closely.  I have been working on a few homebrew options for my personal games with the Cypher System for some time I am eager to see what Monte and Company do !
There as not been much more sent down the pipe about this one yet. But I think this much like Numenera and The Strange. This will be a Kickstarter Project as well. If that’s the case.


The Strange

The-Strange-Logo-Color-SmallThe Strange is on sale right now over on Drive Through RPG ! And if you head on over there right now  you can pick it up for a steal of a price ! The Strange is the second Kickstater for Monty Cook Games and it was another huge hit.
So what is the strange you ask ?
The Strange is a game that crosses multiple worlds, called recursions, which player characters can explore and defend. In The Strange, your characters change with each world they travel to, taking on new aspects suited to help them function in that recursion’s unique laws and structures.
If you enjoyed the inspiring scope of games like PlanescapeGamma World, or Numenera, or mind-bending scenarios like Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series, the TV show Fringe, or movies like the Matrix, you’re going to love The Strange!
This game is great.  With the concept of Fictionverses in the setting you can run literally any game your story tell can conceive within the strange !
Using the “Cypher System” that was introduced in the Monty Cooks new game Numenera “The Strange” is a Level Based DC game where the GM needs not roll the dice but can focus on telling the story for his players.  If you have been looking for something new to try. I highly recommend giving the Strange a Try !

Use the link on the right to head on over to Drive Through RPG if you like or click on the link below and it will send you straight there !