Tabletop Game / The Strange

Explore — Defend — Create

Earth isn't alone in the universe. It sits atop a network of dark energy, called the Strange. Uniquely gifted people, called the quickened, are able to translate themselves into the Strange and the recursions found there - pocket universes, sometimes modeled on fictional worlds, other times alien beyond imagining.

Aside from Earth itself, The Strange details two major recursions: Ardeyn, a fantasy setting with dragons and magic, and Ruk, a world of cybernetic and biological enhancements that began life as a refugee craft flying through the Strange itself.

The Strange is a Tabletop RPG about exploration and discovery. It uses the Cypher system, like its predecessor Numenera. There is even a crossover guide that allows you to blend the two games' settings and mechanics together.

Has a website.

You can find fanmade recursions here

This tabletop RPG provides examples of:

  • Alien Sky: Ardeyn and Ruk border on the Strange the way Earth borders on normal space. The view is... odd.
  • The Alternet: The All Song of Ruk, a biological data network that everyone taps into at a cellular level.
  • Animesque: The recursion of Atom Nocturne, which also features Psychic Powers.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Crow Hollow, a recursion that plays host to the Glittering Market. It's run by the Beak Mafia, a group of humanoid crows who trade in coins carved from your life essence.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The Estate.
  • Bio Punk: The recursion of Ruk, a mad bioengineer's dream world.
  • Cool Gate: Recursion gates, including translation gates (which reformat you into a suitable shape for your destination), inapposite gates (which do not), portal spheres, and fractal vortexes. Individual artifacts and cyphers can often create their own gates, with various properties.
  • Cosmic Retcon: Despite Ardeyn's recent creation to stop the invasion of Earth, the recursion has millennia of recorded history.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Planetovores, who are mentioned in the Estate agent briefing at the beginning of the book. They have a variety of possible origins, but most seem interested in making a snack of the baryonic universe, one planet at a time.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The setting as a whole, though individual recursions very definitely enforce their own physical laws and tropes, collectively called "context". Inapposite gates can be used to drop out-of-context items into another place, at the cost of rapid degradation. This is used in at least one case to bring a telepath to Earth. Her mind-reading gives her splitting headaches and runs the risk of killing her if she stays too long, but it's fantastic at rooting out moles in her employer's organization.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Aside from the various types of gates, certain artifacts and cyphers provide the ability to translate between recursions, sometimes going to a specific spot within a given recursion.
  • It Only Works Once: Cyphers can bend or break the laws of reality wherever they're used, but they are defined as one-use items.
  • Magical Underpinnings of Reality: Not counting the baryonic universe (that is to say, Earth), no matter the weird rules of a given recursion, it's all caused by basically living inside a Precursor's universe-sized computer network.
  • Medieval Stasis: Enforced in recursions operating under Substandard Physics rules.
  • The Men in Black: The Office of Strategic Recursions, a secret government agency overseeing other groups. Their agents wear black suits and use reality-bending cyphers.
  • Morphic Resonance: People and items which translate between recursions will adopt suitable forms upon arrival.
  • The Multiverse: Prime worlds (like Earth), recursions, and the peculiar geography of the Strange itself, each with their own physical laws, inhabitants, and history.
  • Orphean Rescue: A possibility, if you die in Ardeyn. If you came through an inapposite gate, though, you don't have a soul to save from the underworld.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Living, thinking beings have souls... if they're in Ardeyn, or perhaps similar recursions.
  • Pocket Dimension: What most recursions effectively are. "Prime worlds", like Earth, are fully realized.
  • Portal Network: Different groups maintain their own network of gates, including one gate on a moving train that leads to a prison recursion.
  • Precursors: The alien race who created the Strange, then died off. It's stated that planetovores will make quick work of any civilization advanced enough to use the Strange at anything near its real potential.
  • Prison Dimension: The government maintains a recursion for prisoners, whose properties make it virtually impossible to enter or leave via the usual means.
  • Psychic Powers: One of the many power sources available to natives of the recursions.
  • The Soulless: Most inhabitants of a recursion are this. Those with actual sentience and the ability to comprehend the Strange's existence are said to have "the spark".
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Translation, gates, and more. There's half a dozen different ways to navigate the Strange.