Tuesday, August 25, 2015

PAX Prime 2015

MCG is going to PAX in Seattle! Come see us in room 209. We'll have two, 2-hour long demo games going all day, every day, so come by and sign up for some RPG fun! In addition, I'll be signing in room 209 with Monte Cook & Shanna Germain at the following times:

Friday 1-3
Saturday 12-2
Sunday 12-2

Finally, I'll be around at other times, too, along with Charles Ryan and Torah Cottrill to talk about cool, geeky things (including, of course, Numenera, The Strange, and the Cypher System). So come say hello! 

(If you see Torah, she might just be cosplaying a character from the Numenera Character Options book who Consorts with the Dead, or your favorite Estate Lead Operative, Katherine Manners.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Worlds Numberless and Strange

I put a lot into this book. I hope you like Worlds Numberless and Strange, available here!

Witch covens battle in the mammoth city of Halloween. Nazis struggle to master mythological relics in the Eleventh Reich. T. rexes hunt hominids on the tropical island of Mesozoica, while skyships fend off pirates and predators in the tempestuous cloud seas of Seishin Shore.

In The Strange, recursions—limited pocket dimensions with their own laws of reality—are seeded from human fiction and mythology. A recursor might discover Atlantis, Oz, the Victorian London of Sherlock Holmes, or places even more bizarre and perilous. Worlds Numberless and Strange takes you to dozens of new recursions, where supervillains, dinosaurs, space troopers, killer robots, gods, and other dangers guard wonders and treasures few people on Earth have ever seen!

Worlds Numberless and Strange includes: Nearly 70 new recursions Expanded information on locations, plots, and NPCs of Ardeyn and Ruk Plenty of new artifacts, adventure hooks, and other intriguing details The Implausible Geographical Society, a new secret organization of explorers New creatures for game masters New character options for players, including foci like Inks Spells on Skin and Quells Undead Tips on incorporating your favorite fiction and game worlds into The Strange.

Worlds Numberless and Strange 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Richter Scale for Earthquakes Retired in 1970s

To say an earthquake measures 5.0 (or whatever) on the Richter Scale is incorrect (I just found out, while researching a cypher ability for The Strange RPG). The Richter Scale was retired in 1970! Now its the Moment Magnitude Scale, and you'd just say that an earthquake has a magnitude of 5 (or whatever). 

Apparently, a magnitude 32 quake was detected once. Not on Earth though; it was a *starquake* detected on December 27, 2004 from the ultracompact stellar corpse (magnetar) SGR 1806-20. The quake, which occurred 50,000 light years from Earth, released gamma rays equivalent to 1036 kW in intensity. Had it occurred within a distance of 10 light years from Earth, the quake would have possibly triggered a mass extinction

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Strange Character Generator Is Live

Hello, players of The Strange!

As you may recall, one of the early stretch goals we reached during the Kickstarter campaign for The Strange was an online character generator. We’re super excited to announce that it’s now live! You can find it at:


You can now build, maintain, advance, translate, and print characters for The Strange quickly and easily. You can create and save as many characters as you like, and it’s completely free of charge for all fans of The Strange. Check it out!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Strange Character Options (In Translation) for Numenera

I described how to use Numenera Character options for The Strange a few weeks ago to illustrate how major Cypher System elements are compatible between different games. Now, In Translation (The Strange Character Options) has gone on sale...

You know what’s next, right? Yep. Not only does the new book provide a bounty of new foci, descriptors, and abilities for use in The Strange; you can use the foci and descriptors in your Numenera game.

So when you describe your character in your Numenera game in the sentence, “I’m a blank blank who blanks,” your answer could become, “I’m a Slacker jack who Is Idolized by Millions,” “I’m a Paranoid glaive who Goes Berserk,” or “I’m an Introverted nano who Aspires to Be Posthuman.” You get the idea. 

So here's some specific, pointed advice on using In Translation in your Numenera game:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Both The Strange and Numenera rely on the Cypher System, and that means that a lot of the stuff made for one game works perfectly in the other. (For instance, here's how Numenera character foci might be sorted to work under the various laws of The Strange):

Although the games are different, their core mechanics are the same. Both rate tasks and difficulties from 1 to 10, and both have characters who use Effort, skills, and assets to reduce that difficulty, and both rely on the roll a d20 to see if those tasks come off successfully. The characters in each are described by a single sentence: I’m a blank blank who blanks (I’m a Mad paradox who Separates Mind from Body). Even many elements of the games are similar in a general sense. So although the types, creatures, cyphers, and most of the descriptors and foci are different from game to game, the form in which they are presented, and the way they fit into the game as a whole, is the same.

Which is a long way of saying you can use most of the descriptors and foci presented in Numenera Character Options in your game of The Strange. In many cases, only a few easily-made tweaks is enough to offer your players a particular focus or descriptor when they translate to a new recursion, and in some cases, even while they remain on Earth.

Find out more here :


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Using Props in your RPG Games

Do you use props in your tabletop RPG games?

I don’t always use props when I run an RPG because at their heart, tabletop RPGs are about evoking a world of imagination through the spoken (or written) word. That said, why make imagination do all the work? Descriptions can always be spiced up, anchored, and otherwise enhanced by something you provide your players that makes them feel more in touch with what you’re describing.

I’ll go further: you should consider adding some props to your game if you’re not already doing so. Props engage players in a new way, engage several senses at once, and make a game more memorable. If you already use props, you’ve probably already tried many of the props described below, and probably some I haven’t thought of. The thing to keep in mind about props in RPG games is this: use them judiciously, not constantly. If players come to expect a certain kind of prop because it’s what you always do, that moment of excitement for each new prop reveal becomes less over time. The answer might just be in varying the kind of prop you use.

To my mind, props fall into the following categories.

Tabletop Prop Categories
Special Objects

I provide a few ideas (and anecdotal examples!) of props within each category over on the MCG Blog:http://www.montecookgames.com/using-props-in-rpg-games/

Monday, January 26, 2015

Not Really the "Tolkein Edit"

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My car is quiet, just the way I like it

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Using Writing Prompts in your RPG Game

Have you ever used a writing prompt?

A writing prompt is something fiction writers sometimes throw into the mix to help generate an idea for a new story, a new scene in a novel, or as something that can be developed for a character’s motivation or personality. A prompt could be as simple as an object, like a picket fence, a scarf, or a sleeping dog, or as complex as a situation like an argument over a debt, the last words of a dying friend, or the delivery of terrible news.

Ever wished you had something like a writing prompt for your tabletop RPGs? Well, take a look here, where I describe the Weird Deck and GM Intrusion Deck, which were just unlocked by the Numenera Boxed Set Edition crowdfunding campaign:


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Eschatology Code Adventure

The PCs begin play already aboard a commercial airliner, en route to a mission destination. Read or paraphrase the following to the players if they haven’t already been briefed.

read aloud
You’re an Estate operative, and you’ve got a badge to prove it. The Estate is a secret organization that monitors activity on Earth that originates in alternate recursions and, generally speaking, puts a stop to it for Earth’s safety. You’ve been touched by the Strange yourself and have abilities regular people wouldn’t understand. Those abilities are what make you a perfect operative for the Estate.

You and your team were assigned a new mission, which started today. You’ve been in the air for a couple of hours with a coach-class ticket from Seattle, Washington, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You’re on your way to investigate a man called Father Foss of the All Souls Church of Deliverance (located in Sioux Falls).

Father Foss began counting down to the “End of Days” a few weeks ago. Of course, crackpot evangelists do that all the time, but in this case, local televised news reports showed Father Foss pulling off several tricks that bamboozled the local media. A few reporters went so far as to call the tricks actual miracles. But you know a lot more...

Thus begins Eschatology Code, which was run as an official GenCon 2014 event for The Strange RPG (click here if you want a free preview or to purchase a copy of The Strange). Eschatology Code is an ideal introduction to the game, a stand-alone scenario, or as part of an ongoing campaign. Also included are six pre-generated characters, so you have everything you need to get started playing immediately!

If you'd like a copy, you know where to click:

DrivethruRPG Store ($3.99):

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How to Play The Strange

It's ok to be voyeur if you're invited. Watch us play The Strange!

Surveilling the pawn shop!
I GMed The Strange on camera for players Shanna Germain, Monte Cook, and Jen Page. We did this so you could see the game in action, learn the basics about The Strange's unique setting, see what characters in The Strange are like (including their skills and abilities, and important elements like Pools, Edges, and Effort), and just generally see how we (the authors!) intend for a game of The Strange to be played. Plus, it's a good time. If you've got a need to fill 30 minutes with some RPG entertainment, give the video a look. And maybe help us spread the word, too!

Here's what one viewer had to say:

What will you find when you venture into Earth’s shoals? And what will find you, as you travel into...

More at http://www.montecookgames.com/welcome-to-the-strange/

Friday, October 3, 2014

Designing Adventures Using Legal Pads

When I was hired by TSR in 1995, it was like a dream job. In fact, it was a dream job, even though things didn’t work out as I’d expected. Instead of coding a D&D-branded MUD as I’d been hired to do, I was asked to write a paper and pencil 96-page adventure with the working title Gates of Firestorm Peak.

Well, I got to work on it. I sketched out my thoughts and ideas for the adventure using one of the many yellow legal pads I had lying around. (I had extra legal pads thanks to being on my high school debate squad, despite ten years having passed since that time.) After working just three months on “Gates” I was asked to write a new project, working title Return to the Tomb of Horrors. Again, I had lots of space left on empty legal pads, so I used them for concepting work. Both of those products seemed to do well.

Fast forward several years: http://www.montecookgames.com/a-dark-spiraling-and-fun-ride/