Report on one-shot in "The Strange"

Yesterday I ran a game of “The Strange” in the clubhouse of WOW/Keepers, and I was asked to write a post for it. (I’m torn between posting on the forum and on Discord. Since it’s a longer text block, opting for here for now.)
Who am I? Years ago I found players for a new group via RPGVienna, then played “detached” of RPGVienna in WOW/Keepers, and now RPGVienna also comes to WOW/Keepers. Circle of Life :smiley:

I’m not quite sure what is expected of this report, so I’m going places here :slight_smile:

My group consisted of two players I am running a Numenéra campaign with, and the other three were (almost) newbies to the hobby. If it wasn’t their first game, it was the first game in the Cypher System & this setting.
The one-shot was based on a published module from Monte Cook Games (“The Hum”), written with notes for play at a time-limited convention - which I could put to good use. So far, all my one-shots I ran I finished on time, only this one took half an hour longer. Although we also started later because of two players being delayed, I still had to expedite a few details. As I’ve learned from running games at conventions: cut from the middle, never from the end.

The intent of this one-shot was to get the people hooked and see if we “click” together. This, in order to then follow up with a campaign over several months.
I prefer to be a bit loose on the rules in such one-shots, especially with new players. For me, the Cypher System lends itself quite well to that - more on that below.

The core premise of the setting is that “around” Earth, hidden in the energy network called “The Strange”, are alternate realities, called “recursions”, which are seeded by the pop-culture fantasies of the people on Earth. The longer/stronger such a fantasy exists, the more likely a fleshed out recursion exists. And player characters have the abilities to “translate” between these recursions, causing their characters to change and adapt to the lore of the recursion.
This way you could play first in a Star Trek recursion for a few sessions, then in a Middle-Earth recursion, spend a visit in Lovecraftian London, and end the campaign in cyberspace of some cyberpunk dystopia. All with the “same” characters.
“Same”, as in: When translating, players are changing a part of their character. In Cypher System terms, they change their Focus, which is one of the three elements that make up the technical details of a character.

In Cypher System, the technical details of characters are defined by what is called the character sentence. It is in the form of “[name] is an [adjective] [noun] who [verb]” - for example, a Numenéra character of mine is “Alex are a Mystical Jack who Exist partially out of phase” (They can walk through walls!)
Instead of picking a “Class” like in d20 systems, you mix & match the three components, resulting in a myriad of combinations and flavours.
This character sentence is also what I recommend newcomers to look at when handing out the pregenerated characters. The numbers and stats can all be overwhelming without knowing the rules, yet the sentence can give you an idea what a character can do.

There are a few more key properties of Cypher System, such as “the GM never rolls” and “more collaborative storytelling focused”, as well as the name-giving “Cyphers”, which are single-use items that have special effects (compare: health potion)

The players yesterday liked it - the translation event went well - “this is so cool” - and the climax entertaining. So, I’m now continuing in the preproduction of the campaign :slight_smile:
For me this is in as much great, because I’ll then run two Cypher games (Numenéra, The Strange), and my DnD Eberron campaign on the side will most likely be my last DnD campaign I master.

In case I made anyone curious - sure, we can consider thinking about running a one-(few-)shot in any of the Cypher System’s settings (that I prefer) - my favourites are Numenéra and The Strange, yet I also ran a SciFi/Horror one-shot twice, and have the material for a fantasy-based approach.
Oh, and, yes, I also have all the material for Planebreaker, a moon that endlessly crashes through the different planes of existence of the multiverse :smiley:

Again, I’m not sure what the ask was for this post - so… AMA?


thanks for posting this :+1:

(was the person asking for this :smiley: )