Happy New Year everyone!
Today we’re on the GM section of The Strange. This is the section in the book that is meant for the Game Master’s use, and goes into the important things to remember when running a game of The Strange. This covers not just basic mechanics and rules but also into the thinking behind the methods presented when running.
I appreciated the fact that The Strange took the time to guide the GM through the process of planning and running a game. This includes laying the foundations behind a successful session, where fun is the primary objective. The rules of The Strange are reasonably simple, and therefore it becomes more important to have a detailed GM section to show just how flexible the rules are when being applied to all sorts of situations.
The GM section also has a host of Cyphers, mysterious one-use devices that serve as temporary powers that the Agents can use. Cyphers are neat and interesting, and having the ability to carry only a limited amount encourages players to use them as soon as they have an opportunity. The surprise factor of not knowing what kind of Cypher you’ll run into next is part of the appeal.
An entire section is also devoted to the nuances of running a game set in the unique and bizarre setting of The Strange. These aren’t really groundbreaking revelations, but are nice to know especially to GMs new to the setting, or to GMing in general.
I find that The Strange’s GMing section is pretty good as far as core rulebooks are concerned. It took on the challenge of being able to teach someone to run games set in such a unique and exotic setting and gives them enough tools with regards to Cyphers, alternate mechanics and advice to get any GM to sound confident and capable in the table.
When I first started reading the book, The Strange felt a little bit hurried, with so many splendid ideas but a mad scramble to try and put them all down to paper. While I still feel that the book still could use a little improvement in how it introduces concepts to the readers, I can’t say that it’s a bad game. Numenera was definitely worth checking out for it’s crazy gonzo science-fantasy vibe, but The Strange marries the same gonzo, kitchen-sink thinking and bolts on modern day urban-fantasy and mad science into it as well.
For fans of such settings, who aren’t afraid of trying a different kind of mechanic, pick up The Strange. It will definitely be worth your time.
You can get a PDF copy of The Strange from DriveThruRPG for only $19.99 or roughly Php 860.00