Monte Cook Games – Unmasked! A Superpowered Setting for The Cypher System

At the beginning of November a free preview appeared online for a new Dennis Detwiller (Delta Green; Wild Talents; Godlike) penned setting, published by Monte Cook Games, called Unmasked. At the same time a 20-page short story, Unmasked: Day One was also released. If Detwiller's involvement wasn’t enough to get me excited the tag line ”Superpowers and Horror in a Dark Eighties just further ticked my boxes. Now the complete 192-page setting, using the Cypher System, has been released, and it looks good…

Top Gun is in theaters. “Papa Don’t Preach” is on the radio. Halley’s Comet is in the sky, and Iran-Contra is in the news. The Soviets are in Afghanistan, and the Doomsday Clock is at 3 minutes until midnight. But there’s something else going on—something even bigger. At school, at the mall, down by the 7-Eleven, you’ve started noticing things. Is that troll doll really glowing? Is that cassette tape calling to you? Why doesn’t anyone else seem to notice?

And when you follow that strange compulsion to create a mask from these items, you become . . . someone else. Someone with capabilities the world has never seen and goals that may not be your own. The mask gives you unimaginable power, but can you resist its agenda? And there are others starting to show up, too, who may have embraced their masks’ dark sides. Maybe that Doomsday Clock matters after all . . .

The book is split into six parts. Origins (overview), Prodigies (Character Creation), Welcome To 1986 (info on the 80’s, how to create “Anytown”, School, and the Threat they face), Welcome to Boundary Bay, New York (a ready-to-go setting full of locations, NPCs and adventure hooks), GM’s Toolbox (tips and tricks for the GM), and Back Matter (Character Sheet & Index).

If f you grew up in the 1980s as I did, or if you turned on a TV anytime in the last thirty years and watched a John Hughes film, you’ve seen the backdrop of Unmasked. The town. Disaffected teens. The mall. High school. Welcome to America, 1986.

But something else is seeping in from the edges. Normalcy and complacency are secretly being replaced by something . . . more. It always starts the same way, though the teens who are the player characters (PCs) don’t know it yet. First, they begin to see things; items and places are marked as if they held some special importance. Then they have the dreams. Of a being called Prester John moving across the country, devising dark plans, and gathering followers. And finally, the teens make a mask. Each mask is different. When they wear the mask, they unleash their maskforms and become someone else, someone powerful that can make impossible things happen. They can fly. Or teleport. Or lift an economy car over their head with one hand. But only when they wear the mask.

More importantly, the mask tells them things…

Even in this small town, quietly and among a select group, sides are already being drawn.

In Unmasked, the player characters are teenagers who are somehow different. One day in 1986, they wake and find they can see the secret meaning hidden in everyday objects. A stop sign, a Bic pen, the clock on the wall of the gym—each seems to practically shine with power for no apparent reason. Even more fascinating, they can see other teens illuminated by the same secret light they have found within themselves.

Each teen independently feels a drive to collect items, to fashion a mask from those objects, and once that mask is finished, to wear it. When the PC wears the mask, they become someone else and have amazing abilities formerly seen only in the pages of comic books. In their mask, it’s almost as if they’re a different person, as the mask itself appears to have a personality, drive, and even goals of its own. While the teens always have the unusual vision that allows them to sense special items and people, the teens’ other powers only manifest when they become their “mask-form” while wearing their mask. If the mask is lost or destroyed, those powers may be gone forever.

These teens soon begin to realize that they are not alone in having these miraculous abilities. Others in the world hit the ground running that morning in 1986 with these newfound powers, and those forces are already in motion. Their goals and methods are, for the most part, as inscrutable as the source of these nascent powers.

Unmasked includes:

· A complete, ready-to-play campaign setting of superpowers and psychological horror for the Cypher System.
· Four new types and a load of new foci—and a new approach to superpowers. In your mask form you might be a Metal Head Smasher who Lives on the Dark Side or a Show-O Changer who Flies by Night, but on school days you’re a regular teen dealing with bullies, grades, and New Wave fashion.
· The complete, ready-to-use town of Boundary Bay, NY, as well as detailed information and guidance on creating your own small-town setting—or using your own town, circa 1986!
· New creatures, NPCs, and threats.
· A complete adventure set in Ocean View High School, plus a plethora of tools and advice for building your own adventures and campaigns based around the mystery of the masks.

Unmasked is a complete campaign setting for the Cypher System and you will need the Cypher System Rulebook to play it.

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Interesting setting but I’ve never tried any of Monte Cook’s games or the Cypher System...

Sent from my iPhone using EN World

Rob Sanchez

Interesting setting but I’ve never tried any of Monte Cook’s games or the Cypher System...

Sent from my iPhone using EN World

Haven't tried it yet either but with all the settings and the monte cook this and that it's maybe time to try ha. I've been tempted by the current cypher bundle of holding daily.

I can dig this setting. Got my X-Men story telling wheels turning.