About this project
Thanks to our terrific backers, The Strange has been funded and will become a reality. Now: How can we make it even better, for both the game and the backers? Let's unlock some stretch goals!
UPCOMING 420,000: Strange Recursions Upgrade: The Strange Recursions book, already a part of the All the eBooks and All the Print Books packages, will be upgraded to a 224-page hardcover with premium production and loads of extra art.
UNLOCKED! 400,000 Game Play Demo Video: We’ll have one or more succinct, entertaining, and highly informative demo videos professionally produced, giving The Strange a great teaching and recruiting tool.
UNLOCKED! $380,000 Conversion Guide: Every backer gets this medium-length (around 48 pages) PDF product with you everything you need to use The Strange in your Numenera campaign or vice versa. It will be released at the launch of The Strange.
UNLOCKED! $360,000 More Strange Adventures Book: This 96-page softcover book with several additional adventures is now a part of the All the eBooks and All the Print Books packages.
UNLOCKED! $340,000 Creature Deck: The Creature Deck is available as an add-on in both PDF and print formats.
UNLOCKED! $320,000 Tales from the Strange: Every backer will get a novella-length compendium of four or more short stories roughly a month before the launch of the roleplaying game.
UNLOCKED! $300,000 Book Upgrades: The Strange Bestiary, Strange Recursions, and the Strange Compendium have been upgraded to 160-page hardcovers. These books are part of the All the eBooks and All the Print Books packages.
UNLOCKED! $285,000 Strange Compendium: This 128-page book covering new Ruk tech, Ardeyn magic, Earth gear, and items and cyphers from other recursions and the Strange itself is now a part of the All the eBooks and All the Print Books packages.
UNLOCKED! 2100 Backers Cypher Deck: The Cypher Deck is available as an add-on in both PDF and print formats.
UNLOCKED! $260,000 Deluxe Dice: We will redesign The Strange dice to make them some of the Strangest—and coolest—dice you’ll own!
UNLOCKED! $250,000 Deluxe Corebook: A deluxe, leatherbound version of the corebook, with gilt edging, a cloth bookmark, special endpapers, and extra color plates, is now available as a standalone add-on or an add-on upgrade to your standard print corebook. (Reward levels at $450 or above get upgraded corebooks for free!)
UNLOCKED! $235,000 Upgrades to Fan and Player Kits: We’ve added a load of great items and features to the Player’s Kit and Fan Kit, making them an incredible deal. See the Kits section, below, for complete contents.
UNLOCKED! $225,000 Character Options Book: This 96-page softcover book chock full of interesting options for The Strange characters is now a part of the All the eBooks and All the Print Books packages.
UNLOCKED! $210,000 Recursion Web Site plus Roll20 Support: A web site for user-contributed recursions--submit your own worlds to be used as recursions by everyone else. Additionally, we'll add support for The Strange for the Roll20 virtual tabletop.
UNLOCKED! $200,000 Recursion Book: This 128-page guide to Ardeyn, Ruk, and other recursions in The Strange is now a part of the All the eBooks and All the Print Books packages.
UNLOCKED! $185,000 Double-Sided Poster Map: We're adding a full color, double-sided poster map to the corebook--AND an extra copy to The Strange Fan Kit!
UNLOCKED! $170,000 XP Cards: A deck of 30 XP cards is now a part of The Strange Player’s Kit.
UNLOCKED! $150,000 The Paradox Room: Get a taste of the strangeness that is The Strange--see Update 35 to download it now!
UNLOCKED! $130,000 The Strange Bestiary: This 128-page guide to creatures of Ruk, Ardeyn, and the Strange itself is now part of the All the eBooks and All the Print Books packages!
UNLOCKED! $100,000 Character Generator: An online character generator for The Strange that'll let you create, modify, advance, save, and print your characters. All for free!
UNLOCKED! $80,000 The Strange Player's Kit: This add-on is the perfect player's companion to The Strange game. See the Kits section, below.
Monte Cook Games is thrilled to announce its next big tabletop roleplaying game: The Strange! Written and designed by Bruce Cordell and Monte Cook, 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. But dangers found in these recursions threaten not only characters, but also our very own Earth. If characters persevere, however, they can not only save themselves and Earth, they may even gain the ability to create a recursion of their own!
If you enjoyed the inspiring scope of games like Planescape, Gamma 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.
We've assembled a great team to work on The Strange. In addition to Bruce and Monte, the exceptional Shanna Germain will serve as lead editor, and she's developing some amazing concepts both for the game and the presentation of the material. Superstar artist Matt Stawicki serves as the lead artist. He's working with us to create a unique visual look for the setting. But we'd love to see you join the team too, either as a backer, or even a contributor (see the backer levels for more information).
For more information, please visit TheStrangeRPG.com. A lot of news about the game can be found there, and much more is coming! And keep checking back for frequent updates and more previews!
If you've pledged to a Kickstarter before, there are some aspects to this Kickstarter that are a bit different than others you may have seen. The differences are primarily in the way we are organizing the rewards we're offering, and the way we are handling shipping.
Many of the rewards for this Kickstarter are grouped together into packages and kits. One of the things we learned from our prior Kickstarter for Numenera is that all the different rewards and add-ons can get confusing, particularly as we reach stretch goals. So the backer levels, all listed on the right-hand side of the page, grant you access to different combinations of packages and kits to help organize your rewards and ensure you get what you want.
Packages are the way we group the primary rewards of the Kickstarter--the books, mainly. You get these based on the backer level you choose. For example, the "Real Deal Package" offers you the main game rulebook in print, which we call the corebook, and a unique character card. The "All the Ebooks Package," on the other hand, offers you the corebook in PDF form, as well as the PDF of the Player's Guide, the PDF of The Dark Spiral adventure, and the PDFs of any books that are offered as stretch goals. Stretch goals may unlock additional packages. Read more about packages below.
Kits are collections of extras The Strange Fan Kit includes items serious fans of the game won't wan to be without. The Strange Player's Kit includes game aids that are great to have around the gaming table. Stretch goals may unlock additional kits, or additional features for these kits. Read more about kits below.
Both packages and kits will grow larger and more valuable if we reach the stretch goals we have planned. Plus, entirely new packages and kits will be offered if we reach certain stretch goals.
Lastly, as you're glancing through the backer levels, you'll notice a reference to credit toward shipping. We're doing shipping differently for this Kickstarter--rather than dictating to you the shipping method we'll use, we're putting that decision in your hands. When the products are ready to ship next year, you'll be able to give us your current address and tell us how you'd like us to ship your stuff. If your package or kit gives you a credit toward shipping, you can apply that to the cost of your preferred shipping method. If you're in the US your shipping credit is designed to cover the entire cost of basic shipping--so shipping will be free. But we're giving you the flexibility of upgrading, at the time of shipment, to faster or more trackable shipping options and apply the credit toward that cost. Read more about shipping below or on The Strange website.
The Strange is a cosmos-sized artifact built in the afterglow of the Big Bang. The original alien builders lost control of it eons ago, but their dark energy network remains "beneath" our universe. For those on Earth who've discovered it, everything is different. These select few know that the Strange hosts recursions: unique but limited worlds with their own laws of science and even magic, seeded into the network by the creative resonance of pure imagination, but still nonetheless very real. Thus, the Strange is a place where fictional worlds become realities of their own. One prominent recursion, Ardeyn, is a land of extravagant sorcery, imprisoned devils, and lost gods. Another, called Ruk, has hidden in Earth's shadow since before humanity evolved, populated by creatures that were never human, born of the fiction of somewhere else. And those are just a few of the hundreds of recursions that speckle the dark energy web around Earth. Each recursion is a place of wonder, but each risks drawing the attention of vast entities that scuttle through the primordial reaches of the Strange like bloated spiders on a web: voracious planetovores that eat worlds, recursions and prime worlds (such as Earth) alike. Many PCs are going to want to champion one or more these worlds to defend them against these horrific threats.
The game system that drives The Strange is the same one used by Numenera, which means it's fast-moving and streamlined, facilitating the stories the group wants to create, the imaginative places and creatures the GM needs to share, and the amazing ideas encouraged by exploring the Strange. If you're familiar with Numenera's game system—referred to as the Cypher System—you already know how to play The Strange.
If you're not familiar with it, that's okay too. The Strange is a stand-alone game. Character generation is fast and fun, because you create a sentence based on the choices you make: I'm a Clever Vector who Wields Two Weapons at Once. I'm a Strong-Willed Spinner Who Utters Words of Power. And so on. Each part of that statement helps determine your stats and abilities.
An experienced player will find a whole new wrinkle, however, as her character's focus (the third part of that statement) actually changes based on which world she visits. A single adventure may span many different recursions, so through the course of the game, a character will change and adopt new aspects and abilities to deal with the challenges she faces.
While the Strange could potentially be host to a multitude of recursions, we focus primarily on two--Ardeyn and Ruk--in addition to the prime world of Earth, because they are the most prominent and the first two discovered by humans. As your characters explore the Strange, they may find many more. GMs will be able to add their favorite fictional settings, brand new recursions of their own creation, or even past campaign worlds from other RPGs to help populate the Strange. The possibilities are endless!
On Earth (and by that, we mean modern-day Earth), The Strange is an RPG of espionage, intrigue, and sometimes horror (particularly when creatures from recursions come to our world). Characters become involved with organizations like the Quiet Cabal, whose members are invested in the Strange and aided by mysterious backers; the September Project, which may have a link to a monstrously powerful figure in Ardeyn called the Betrayer; or any number of additional secretive groups that have interest in or knowledge of the Strange. Earth is a prime world, a hub of information and secrets. If you control a prime world, you control its recursions. Most new PCs in The Strange will start on Earth.
Ardeyn is a world of magic and monsters, created by humans on Earth and nested--only recently--in the Strange. Despite its genesis as a fictional world, Ardeyn has become a real place, with real inhabitants and and all too real sorcery. The denizens of Ardeyn wield mystic blades sheathed in living souls, use the dead to guard an imprisoned god, and ride incredible flying dlamma. Not all Ardeynians are human, either. The qephilim are tall, dark, angular-faced creatures with varying innate connections to the magic of their realm. It is known as Ardeyn, the Land of the Curse, and Lotan's Prison.
Ruk is an unimaginably ancient artificial construct that traveled through the Strange. While on the run from the horrific planetovores, it "ran aground" in the shoals of the Strange around Earth, long before humanity evolved.
Ruk can be thought of as part alien world and part cosmic shipwreck. The inhabitants are masters of biotechnology to the point where they shape and reshape their bodies as needed and--as we are just now discovering--they have been coming to Earth for millennia in human form for some mysterious purposes. The inhabitants of Ruk are not a unified group, and not all of them are humanity's friends.
The Strange corebook will be a 416-page, full-color hardcover book done in the highly beautiful, art-heavy style of Numenera (although with its own sensibilities, of course). The two books will look very nice on your shelf together. The Strange corebook will include the rules of the game, character creation information, the details of the very unique setting, some creatures and NPCs, some GMing advice, a double-sided full-color poster map, and even an adventure to get you started.
The Strange Player's Guide will be a 96-page full-color softcover book that collects all the character creation information from the corebook, plus an overview of the setting. This book is intended for players.
The Dark Spiral will be a 96-page full-color softcover book that contains a number of linked scenarios which take characters from Earth to both Ruk and Ardeyn, as well as into other minor recursions. This book is intended for GMs.
The Bestiary will be a 160-page full-color hardcover book chock full of creatures native to Ruk, Ardeyn, and the Strange itself.
Strange Recursions will be a 160-page full-color hardcover book with additional detail on Ardeyn, Ruk, and other recursions.
Character Options will be a 96-page full-color softcover book chock full of interesting options for characters from Earth, Ruk, Ardeyn, and possibly other recursions as well.
The Strange Compendium will be a 160-page hardcover book covering new Ruk tech, Ardeyn magic, Earth gear, and items and cyphers from other recursions and the Strange itself.
More Strange Adventures (working title) will be a 96-page full-color softcover book with several Strange adventures.
The deluxe corebook is identical in content to the standard corebook, but will be a leather-bound, gilt-edged edition with a cloth bookmark, special endpapers, and extra color plates. This will be a Kickstarter exclusive, with few if any copies available by any other means.
If you've seen the Numenera corebook, the Player's Guide, or The Devil's Spine adventure, you know these books will be beautiful. Numenera fans will find The Strange products to be excellent companions to their books, with new descriptors, types, foci, creatures, and more that they can use (the rules for the two games will be entirely compatible).
Check out the many reward levels we're offering on the right-hand side of this page. You'll notice that many of The Strange rewards come in packages to make them easier to understand. The contents of these packages are described below. Further, should we reach our goal and proceed to stretch goals that add additional rewards, these rewards will be added to the appropriate package, expanding the packages greatly with no additional cost to you!
All the Ebooks Package: You receive all the PDFs funded by this campaign. Plus, your name goes in The Strange corebook, listed by contributor level.
The Real Deal Package: You receive The Strange corebook in print. You receive a unique character usable in the game keyed to the world that you choose to ally with in the How Strange Are You? Quiz. Plus, your name goes in The Strange corebook, listed by contributor level. You also receive a $10 credit toward the cost of shipping.
All the Print Books Package: This includes all the print books funded by this campaign. You receive a unique character usable in the game keyed to the world that you choose to ally with in the How Strange Are You? Quiz. Plus, your name goes in The Strange corebook, listed by contributor level. With this package, each print book carries a credit toward shipping (the corebook shipping credit is $10, the Player's Guide shipping credit is $5, and The Dark Spiral shipping credit is $5, the Bestiary is $10, Strange Recursions is $10, Character Options is $10, Strange Compendium is $10, More Strange Adventures is $5, and other books provided by stretch goals will have their own).
Kits are like packages, but they are add-ons that can be added on to any pledge. (They are also included in a few backer levels.) To start with, we have one kit, The Strange Fan Kit. More kits may be created by future stretch goals!
The Strange Fan Kit: This kit includes an exclusive, numbered, deluxe bookplate hand-signed by both designers, Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell. Further, they will personalize it as you request (subject to some restrictions on length and content). The kit also includes an 8.5-inch by 11-inch art print of the cover of The Strange corebook cover art signed by concept artist Matt Stawicki, a backer certificate in your name signed by Bruce and Monte, a 22-inch by 33-inch (approximately) double-sided poster map (an extra copy of the map in the corebook), and four stickers. More might be added to the kit if we reach upcoming stretch goals. Shipping of The Strange Fan Kit is free.
The Strange Player Kit: This add-on is the perfect player's companion to The Strange game. It includes a set of custom Strange dice, specially marked for use with the game, along with a Strange notebook, a Strange T-shirt, an XP deck, and a custom playmat that's perfect for this players-roll-all-the-dice game, a pad of 25 character sheets, a folder for keeping your character and game notes in, a mechanical pencil, and a bookbag to carry your corebook and other goods to and from the game. Like The Strange Fan Kit, we may add content to this kit if we hit future stretch goals. Shipping of The Strange Player Kit is free.
Add-Ons are rewards that you add to your existing reward level by increasing the amount of your pledge. You'll be able to check your pledge and designate which add-ons you want after the Kickstarter campaign is over.
$8 Cypher Deck in PDF. Generate cyphers quickly and easily on the fly with this 120-card deck.
$8 Creature Deck in PDF. Generate creatures and encounters quickly and easily on the fly with this 100+ card deck.
$20 Cypher Deck in print and PDF. In addition to the 120-card physical deck, you also receive the PDF.
$20 Creature Deck in print and PDF. In addition to the 100+ card physical deck, you also receive the PDF.
$25 Autographed Bookplate. This adhesive bookplate will fit nicely into your corebook. It is individually hand-signed by both Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell, designers of The Strange.
$50 The Strange Fan Kit. This kit includes an exclusive, signed, numbered, and personalized bookplate, an 8.5-inch by 11-inch art print of the cover of The Strange corebook, a double-sided poster map (an extra copy of the map in the corebook), and 4 stickers. Free shipping is included.
$60 The Strange Player's Kit. This kit includes a set of custom Strange dice, a Strange notebook, an XP Deck, a Strange T-shirt, and a custom playmat. Free shipping is included.
$20 The Strange Player's Guide in print. Along with the book, you receive a $5 credit toward shipping.
$25 The Dark Spiral in print. Along with the book, you receive a $5 credit toward shipping.
$25 More Strange Adventures in print. Along with the book, you receive a $5 credit toward shipping.
$40 The Bestiary in print. Along with the book, you receive a $10 credit toward shipping.
$40 Strange Recursions in print. Along with the book, you receive a $10 credit toward shipping.
$40 Strange Compendium in print. Along with the book, you receive a $10 credit toward shipping.
$25 Character Options in print. Along with the book, you receive a $10 credit toward shipping.
$60 The Strange corebook in print. Along with the book, you receive a $10 credit toward shipping.
$60 The Strange print corebook upgrade to deluxe. Applicable only to rewards that include a print corebook. You will receive a deluxe corebook instead of a standard print corebook.
$120 The Strange deluxe corebook. This is the deluxe version in addition to your regular rewards (as opposed to an upgrade that replaces your print corebook). Along with the book, you receive a $10 credit toward shipping.
As mentioned above, we're doing shipping a bit differently. Instead of locking you into a single shipping method of our choosing, we’re giving you some options. We’re doing this by including a shipping allowance with most of our physical rewards. For example, if you are getting the Real Deal Package, you'll get a $10 credit to shipping.
We've designed this allowance to cover the cost of basic shipping in the United States, which will cost $10 or less. Thus, if that's what you want, you shouldn't have to pay a penny more.
But you aren't limited to that option. When it’s time to ship your rewards, we’ll ask you how you want yours shipped. You can choose a faster or more trackable method, but it will probably cost more. If your shipping allowance doesn’t cover it, you can pay the difference at that time.
International backers will have the same options, but the final cost of even basic shipping will probably require some additional payment. (That's why we don't have any special, more expensive rewards levels for overseas backers, or require any additional payment at this time.) But just like domestic backers, international backers apply their shipping credit to the cost of their shipping, reducing it accordingly. And just like domestic backers, international backers will have the choice to use an expedited method.
We don’t know exactly how much shipping will cost—shipping rates change, we may gain some efficiencies that save us money, and it can vary dramatically by destination, shipping method, and how many rewards you’re getting. Rest assured, since we're paying a portion of everyone's shipping ourselves, we're going to try to get the best rates.
And here's an extra bonus: If shipping your reward costs less than your shipping allowance (which is likely for US backers choosing basic shipping), we'll apply the surplus as a credit to purchases from the Monte Cook Games online store, so you can get even more cool stuff if you'd like.
You'll choose your shipping method in the weeks just prior to the delivery of your rewards.
Although the estimated delivery date is listed as August 2014, it is our intention that Kickstarter backers will receive their copies of The Strange corebook and The Strange Player's Guide before they are generally available elsewhere (this includes retailers that are backers of the Kickstarter, who will, of course, be able to sell the books as soon as they arrive). Having recently fulfilled the Numenera Kickstarter--the largest, most complex RPG Kickstarter campaign yet fulfilled--we have the expertise to handle shipping quickly and efficiently.
As a final note, please be aware that while the estimated delivery date listed on each backer level is based on The Strange corebook, some rewards may come earlier, and some--such as The Dark Spiral and certain stretch goal products--will come later.
For additional information about shipping, visit the Kickstarter section of our website.
We are very excited about this project, and we hope that you'll join us in making it a reality. With your support, we'll all have an amazing new game to play next year!
Special thanks to artists Matt Stawicki, Reece E. Ambrose (Epic Realities & Graphics Corporation) and Lee Smith for their gorgeous images and graphics.
Risks and challenges
We chose to Kickstart this project at its very earliest stages to enable backers to get involved in the playtest and be in "on the ground floor" of The Strange. That means, of course, that the product is not created yet. That's our biggest challenge. But as we showed with Numenera, creating a fantastic game book is what we do best.
If The Strange Kickstarter gets big, fulfillment is also a challenge, of course. We learned so much with Numenera (the largest RPG Kickstarter, by far, ever to reach the fulfillment stage), however, that we feel that literally no one knows how to do that better than we do. Although we experienced setbacks as we blazed a trail with Numenera, we overcame all them to deliver the vast majority of products on time to delighted backers. And shipments of later products (such as the recently-fulfilled The Devil's Spine) have gone almost flawlessly.
Lastly, if a meteor hit Seattle and killed the entire creative team in one fell swoop, that would also be a setback. Thankfully, we have secret robot designers in an underground bunker set to activate and finish the game should that contingency arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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