Cypher System
  • Cypher System


    Gen Con is coming! It's like Winter, except the swarm of invaders are all alive and very warm, and while there will be mass carnage and devastation, it will primarily happen at thousands of game tables. Well, sure, the carnage at the restaurants will also be pretty spectacular, too. Scotty's Brewhouse is one of my favorite haunts, and apparently that opinion is shared by many thousands of my fellow gamers. There are hundreds of food sources in downtown Indianapolis, and nearly all of them go out of their way to welcome Gen Con folks in some way. It's actually pretty impressive. For those will be there, do try and find me and say hello! I'll primarily be hanging around the Pinnacle/Studio 2 booth. If you cannot make it, please game on and enjoy the spirit of it all from wherever you are. I don't leave until next week, though, so let's get down to the Picks for this week...
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    I have to say I am pretty excited about this week's Picks, especially the last one (for personal reasons). As well, some fantastic stuff for Pathfinder fans, and something rather amazing for FATE fans and those who loved one of the most influential PC games of all time.
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    Today June 1st, 2015, Shanna Germain is holding an AMA right here on EN World! A writer, editor, and instructor for more than 20 years, Shanna's award-winning short fiction, essays, novellas, articles, poems, and books have been widely published. She is the co-owner of Monte Cook Games, LLC and the creative director for Numenera, The Strange, and the Cypher System Rulebook. Currently, she is the lead designer for No Thank You, Evil!, an upcoming RPG for creative families. Before she became a full-time writer, she worked as a bartender, plant wrangler, ice cream topper, firefighter, paramedic, house sitter, and groundskeeper. She owns a rescue dog named Ampersand and an invisible dragon named Interobang. You can ask questions right now!
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    Another eclectic selection of interesting choices, as is often the case around here. There's also a little something special I shared on Memorial Day instead of the usual Pick. For those embracing the warmth on oncoming Summer, "Here Comes the Sun." For our Southern Hemisphere friends, "Winter is Coming."
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    inXile Entertainment has posted a video trailer for the Torment: Tides of Numenera video game, the game that's half the spirtual successor of Planescape: Torment, and half a new game based on Monte Cook Games' popular tabletop RPG. "Thanks to its more than 90,000 backers, Torment: Tides of Numenera continues the thematic legacy of the critically acclaimed Planescape: Torment. Set in Monte Cook's tabletop role-playing world, Numenera, the newest Torment asks: What does one life matter? With this #1 most funded Kickstarter video game, inXile is creating a rich RPG experience that explores deep, personal themes."  ...READ MORE

    Fans of Monte Cook Games' The Strange will be happy to know that an online character generator was launched today. You can create, save, print, or advance your character, or even customize the system with GM Controls. It's designed for most recent browsers, although not for mobile devices.
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    I have seen - without exaggeration - hundreds of e-zines come and go over the 16 years I've been writing these news updates. Some good, some bad. Heck, I've been responsible for three of them! This one is the first for Monte Cook Games' Cypher System - Numenera, The Strange, and No Thank You, Evil, plus their upcoming Cypher System core rulebook. It's bi-monthly (as in one every two months; the next is in July) and contains a variety of articles and news about upcoming Cypher System products.
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    Monte Cook Games' kid-targeted roleplaying game Kickstarter, No Thank You, Evil, launched yesterday with a funding goal of $40,000. It has already almost achieved that goal (expect this one to run into the hundreds of thousands, like all MCG Kickstarters!) Billed as "a game of make-believe for creative kids and their families from the team that brought you Numenera and The Strange", it is set in a world called Storia and features characters such as Olivia, a Super Smart Princess who Experiments With Science. No Thank You, Evil features MCG's exisiting Cypher System, which powers their current crop of games.
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    The Cypher System is the rules-lite system which powers Monte Cook Games' Numenera and The Strange. The core rulebook is designed to present the game engine separately as a generic system able to handle sci-fi, fantasy, supers, and more. It's pitched as a toolkit to build the game you want, along with tons of additional descriptors, foci, types, creatures, cyphers, and artifacts for existing Numenera or The Strange players. You can pre-order the 416-page hardcover which releases in August for $59.99. (thanks to Dahak for the scoop)
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    No Thank You, Evil - the upcoming kids' RPG from Monte Cook Games - now has a website. Billed as "Game of Make-believe for Creative Kids and Their Families", it is being Kickstarted next week. Being a MCG Kickstarter, it'll make hundreds of thousands, so keep an eye out for it (I'll mention it here, too). In the meantime, check out the website, which features a gallery showing some of the kid playtesters, and some basic information on the game.
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    This week was full of Big New Releases, and I think a lot of us are looking at squeezing our budgets dry to grab all the great stuff!
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    Monte Cook Games has just announced a kid-friendly RPG called No Thank You, Evil. "We’re making an RPG for smart kids and their families called No Thank You, Evil! It’s based on a slimmed-down version of the rules system from Numenera and The Strange, and it’s designed to be fast, easy, and fun for kids as young as 5." This is a game they say they've been working on for over a year, "learning more about children’s developmental stages, and looking into important accessibility issues for young gamers (including dyslexia, color-blindness, and autism)."
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    Very eclectic mix this week, including a fantastic and adventure-filled fiction anthology about shotguns and Lovecraftian threats; a masterful critical effects system for Pathfinder; a Dungeon World campaign; a major Strange supplement; and the arrival of Dogs in the Vineyard on DriveThruRPG.
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    Settings based on particular people, times, cultures, or places are commonplace in RPGs, although they tend to be historical (feudal Japan, Vikings, Wild West, Victorian England) or mythological (Aurthurian legends, Greek mythology, Robin Hood). The other day I stumbled across something I'd managed to completely miss - Monte Cook Games was the subject of a petition from somebody who felt that a particular Native American themed recursion (world) in MCG's game The Strange had some issues. The petition has 250 signatures, and MCG adopted a policy of listening to what folks had to say - both in public, and by contacting various bodies - before responding. I've posted both the petition and the response below.
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    Charles Ryan of Monte Cook Games was kind enough to ask me to be one of three judges for a contest being run for their game, The Strange. The other two judges were Sean K. Reynolds, who is a veteran of both D&D and Pathfinder, and Ed Grabianowski, a gaming journalist. We received a few dozen excellent submissions, and wrangled and debated a winner and two runners up. Somehow, we chose a winner, which was The Lost Lands, by Darren White. Two runners up, Liberty and Death, by Filbanto Baumannn, and Saturday, August 8, 1998, by Andrew Marlowe, also made a great showing.
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    ICv2 has released its quarterly hobby game rankings. No surprises here - Dungeons & Dragons has taken the top spot back after several years at #2, as expected, though how long it can hold it without an aggressive release schedule remains to be seen. Pathfinder follows at #2, and Numenera, Fate, and Star Wars all make showings in the top 5. As always, the charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. This is for Fall/Winter 2014.
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    Another Friday, another roundup of daily Picks from this week! Random lists, uncharted Numenera territory, and an updated eldritich classic make up some of the week's best offerings in PDF!
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    Well, more accurately a Swedish film company is making a movie based on Monte Cook Games' Numenera setting. Back in 2012, when Numenera was but a glimmer in Monte Cook's eye, one of the higher stretch goals was that if the Kickstarter hit half a million dollars, Monte would produce a Numenera short film. At the time he was unsure of what form that would take - live action, animated, etc. Fast forward to 2015, and a Swedish group is producing Numenera Strand, a live-action 6-minute short! Most of the film has already been shot, and they're using Kickstarter to fund the roughly $35,000 equivalent to dramatically improve visual effects and other elements of the film.
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    I'm a judge in a contest run by Monte Cook Games! It's a contest to design recursions for The Strange, with the prize of having your creation adapted fo inclusion in Worlds Numberless and Strange - plus a gift certificate, which is useful, but not quite as cool as having your idea in the book. The judges are myself, Sean K Reynolds, and Ed Grabianowski from io9.
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    Monte Cook Games has launched something called NaNewGaMo - National New Gamemaster Month, although they take pains to point out that it's not just national, it's international (InNewGaMo?) During January they plan to teach you how to become a new GM. "During the month of NaNewGaMo, we’re going to give you the skills and confidence to become a GM. We’ll guide you through the process of understanding the rules, the setting, and your first adventure."
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