Friday, October 18, 2013

The Strange by Monte Cook Games

I'm not normally one to invest my money into Kickstarter campaigns, as I've seen too many horror stories out there about campaigns that went sour and the money disappeared, but The Strange by Monte Cook Games might be the first one that I actually drop some money into. 

The creative team behind the project includes Bruce Cordell as Senior Designer, Monte Cook as Lead Designer, and Matt Stawicki as Lead Artist. I really like Bruce Cordell and have enjoyed several of his books over the years. I think his ruminations over the Far Realms are on point and that most of his books are easy to read affairs that mostly avoid the mind numbing textbook speak that has become the rage in modern gaming circles.

I'm excited to see him involved.

My problem comes from Monte Cook. I know that's unpopular to say as he's some sort of modern day god among the gaming elite - but seriously, the guy puts more power creep in his games than Kevin Siembieda ever even had hopes of dropping into Rifts. His Arcana book lines just kept getting more, and more powerful to the point where only power gamers were seriously considering playing in them. And not too gripe too much about him, but his adventures aren't the best things going as they often hold to themes that no player would ever want to explore (read: the Banewarrens).

But Bruce and Monte seem so happy in their stilted deliveries of hokey lines from their Kickstarter video.

I don't know, maybe I'm just becoming cynical in my old age but if I were going to be posting a video asking for money I'd make damned sure that it didn't sound like it was being done by a pair of jag-offs.

Anyway, the game system being used for Strange is the Cypher System from the Numenera product line. I've not played in that system but I imagine that with their pedigree that it's probably a decent enough system to begin with though inevitably Monte will allow in a massive amount of power creep and have to either abandon it altogether (as he did with the Arcana lines) or he'll have to release a new edition. So get ready for that edition war.

The setting for the Strange sounds like a mix between the television show Sliders and the Far Realm from Dungeons and Dragons. And I'm okay with that. In fact, it sounds like a lot of fun.

I'm not real sold on the use of esoteric language in describing a new product that none of us have a handle on yet, but then again, I wouldn't have put up that video either. My views on their use of language is only reinforced when you take their survey for which faction you belong to: Ruk, Earth, or Ardeyn. 

I don't know, shoot everything and ask questions later wasn't the answer to every question so I don't think I did too well on their survey. But hey, I'm representing Earth even though none of the fucking questions made sense. So it can't all be wrong, eh?

The artwork that has been released for The Strange is stunningly beautiful. 

Matt Stawicki was a steal and his artwork only continues to amaze me. If I were Wizards of the Coast I would steal him away today and start having him produce the new art for Dungeons and Dragons' new edition. He's everything you want in an artist as he makes even a reluctant patron consider giving to Kickstarter just so he can have more works by Matt Stawicki to look at. 

With that I'm going to finish this post by showing some of Matt Stawicki's works so you all can see who's going to be producing the visuals on this bad boy. 

Belarus by Matt Stawicki

Jumping off the Moon by Matt Stawicki

Raistlin Chronicles by Matt Stawicki

Minotaurs 2 by Matt Stawicki
Rebellion by Matt Stawicki
Darkwave by Matt Stawicki
The dude is just amazing.

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