Strange Dungeons

the-strange-imageI chose The Strange.

It came down to a choice. Should I buy the new Player’s Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e or the freshly released Cypher-powered game.

I did give it deep thought. For a time, they both sat in the midst of the online shopping cart.

I have been reading some very interesting articles, reviews and chatter on 5e. I would be lying if I said I had taken no interest in it. I have, rather, been reading quite a bit of it. I purchased the Dungeons & Dragons 5e Starter Set soon after it’s release and availability in the UK.

However, I have not yet read it, played it, or given it a great deal of thought.

On the other hand, I have run three games of Numenera and played in a couple of sessions. I have also done a fair amount of reading through several licenced third party products. Therefore, I feel more certain I will make use of The Strange and give it my time and attention.

I fear that if I buy the Player’s Handbook, it will sit in the midst of my reading pile and find no further attention forthcoming. I mean, I got a cheap copy of the Pathfinder rules a little while back and I haven’t got much further with my investigations of that. Indeed, Pathfinder served as a springboard to look elsewhere more than anything else. I probably wouldn’t have purchased Whitehack or investigated Lorefinder if not for that thick hardback sitting in my reading pile. If I hadn’t looked at Lorefinder, I possibly wouldn’t be running my rather satisfying Gumshoe The Enemy Within campaign.

But, the idea of getting something that might see use rather than something that definitely will doesn’t appeal to me at all.

I have, in some small way, found a special love for the Cypher system. I suspect, given the right sense of creative urgency, I might find myself writing my own third party product for Numenera or The Strange.

I also saw someone mention Lords of Creation… as much as anything as a frame of reference for their understanding of what The Strange might be like. While I can’t vouch for any hint of association between the two concepts without looking into it further, it does appeal to me. LoC is a guilty pleasure of mine and I own all the original boxed sets for this game, which I also played in my formative gaming years.

So, I chose The Strange.

I might have a package waiting for me when I get home. Then I have a decision to make. I’m already 160 pages into the Call of Cthulhu 7e Keeper’s book and 130 pages into Rogue Trader… so, can I juggle a third big fat book into my current reading pile?

(Before you ask how this reading dilemma has come about, I have reading piles in different locations – with CoC getting most attention as bedtime reading and WH40K:RT filling moments in the house’s smallest room)

I Will Survive

Cover of XP Edition

Cover of XP Edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, 2014 presents us with Paranoia‘s 30th anniversary, and the suggestion of something to look forward to. Seems like only yesterday that Paranoia XP appeared to celebrate the 20th anniversary, and I toiled amongst the Traitor Recycling Studio producing some rather interesting, exciting and dangerous supplements.

Alas, the various volumes produced a decade ago have now become rather hard to come by - requiring a root around the local game store or in the hallowed eaves of eBay. Not that’s acquired any great value (as of yet), just that you can’t currently pick them up without a root around.

As often happens, the world has moved on since Paranoia XP hit the shelves. Specifically, the face of gaming has continued to spin around and around. Yes, we still have some of the mainstays and a lot of classic – or renaissance – materials going around, but we have many threads of commonality going on that make many games a more collaborative experience. I’m not talking outright story games, but those where the gamemaster fiat balances against player agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Return to the Pit of Filth

La Fosse Aux Ordures

I had almost forgotten about this.

Some time ago +matt jackson set a challenge based on a very small map. He asked that participants take the map as the basis for an adventure and he’d choose a winner. In the end, he highlighted a bunch of great adventures people had come up with and I got a PDF of Moleskin Maps as a runner-up prize.

It was fun.

Anyway – I wrote my adventure to use the Fighting Fantasy system, or (bizarrely) a simplified version of it (yeah, that is possible). After making the adventure freely available, I was contacted by a member of the French Fighting Fantasy publisher who wanted to translate it. I admit to being taken aback, but agreed without reservation.

And then I forgot about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing Wisely

English: Slum in Glasgow, 1871

I generally approach Monday nights with a creeping sense of dread. Don’t get me wrong – I love gaming night. I also enjoy the whole business of gaming. What kills me can be the uncertainty about whether I actually will GM or not. If I do GM, what size group will I have and what sort of game would they prefer to play.

I try to do what prep I can and have a drop-in game or three in my back pocket – but that does not come without some forethought. I like to think I can improvise without any prep at all, but that simply isn’t true… I need to have a grain of something to work with and the energy to do something with it.

I was tired last night as I took the reins of gamemastery for the weekly session, stepping in after the unexpected sickness of the planned GM.

I decided to play a Fate Accelerated version of Arclight Revelation Tianmar, Victorian steam mecha versus the Red Weed. Read the rest of this entry »

Pit of Filth


keep out

Matt Jackson – over on Google+ – created a mini-map on an index card and challenged readers to come up with an adventure. This was my own stab – the Pit of Filth. Given the existence of more than one horror adventure in the Fighting Fantasy solo adventure book range, it seemed an ideal fit for a system – and meant I could turn out something that you could play without knowing many mechanics at all.


This is a horror scenario for a single player and a GM. The adventure uses the basic Fighting Fantasy system. Read the rest of this entry »