Saturday, December 20, 2014

Lessons of The Eschatology Code

This is the start of an occasional series of posts about the lessons one can draw from specific Strange adventures.  I will dig into the material to see what we can glean from how Monte Cook Games writes its adventures that can help us write our own home games.

I will start with the Eschatology Code.  I had the pleasure of running this at Gencon last summer with several different groups.  The adventure was the "launch" scenario for system, so it seems like a good place to start.

NOTE:  I will avoid spoilers where possible.

Marjan Krebelj -- HTML Code [flickr]

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

13th Age Backgrounds as Skills in the Cypher System

One of the larger transitions from Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder to the Cypher System is the way that it handles skills.  In the former systems, skills are detailed and have a relatively narrow range of applications.  These skills are drawn from a specific list that is tailored to the experience of the game (say a high fantasy adventure game).

The Cypher System takes a different approach.  While there are lists of suggested skills, the lists are open-ended.  Instead of having a narrowly defined application (or set of applications) for the skills, the skills are defined in play.  You can invoke them when they may assist you with a particular challenge -- and the boundaries of application are up to your table.  This is a relatively open approach to skills.  For a related discussion see  Marc Plourde's discussion of skill systems on his blog Inspiration Strikes!.  The recent fantasy RPG 13th Age provides an interesting approach to skills that may inspire your own character development with The Strange or other Cypher System games.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Non-Combat Encounters in the Cypher System

The recent discussion of the role of combat in the Cypher system has touched on a subject I have been considering for awhile -- since before there was a Cypher system, really.  People have long suggested that role playing should include more than combat.  There were many complaints about DnD 4e (a game I played quite a bit, and enjoyed) that the system privileged combat over social interaction and exploration.  It was into this dialogue that the Numenera kickstarter included a great deal of language about how the game rewarded discovery rather than combat.  Did this language over-sell Numenera's non-combat options?

Investigation -- by Paul Vladuchick (flickr)