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Embracing the Weird: How One RPG Publisher Changed the Game with Kickstarter

Embracing the Weird: How One RPG Publisher Changed the Game with Kickstarter

Dungeons and Dragons can be odd, with rust monsters and mimics. But it doesn’t have creatures that contain black holes in their chests, weather that mutates people, or living machines.

Monte Cook Games  is a tabletop RPG publisher that specializes in the weird. It their first game, Numenera, players walk around an earth a billion years in the future where eight other civilizations have come and gone. Rules focus on story, action, and the bizarre adventure you find in this truely unique setting. Exploring scifi ruins millions of years old that are crawling with forgotten monstrosities has never been so fun.

MCG followed that up by upping the ante. In The Strange, players control government agents exploring countless worlds that are based on other works of fiction. The GM can bring you to Middle Earth or Silent Hill or Neverland. Their next big release was the Cypher System Rulebook, that had additional options for campaigns of many different genres, from Lovecraftian Horror to High Fantasy.

Ever wanted to control gravity? Manipulate time? Talk to machines? The rules of the cypher system let you do some pretty extreme things in these exotic worlds. Would you rather become a simple warrior or a warrior that can also turn into lightning?

Monte Cook Games was able to make such diverse and off-kilter work because of Kickstarter. Since the company’s founding in 2012, there have been six RPG projects that have raised over $2 million. The company’s founder and lead Monte Cook gained a following with the books he wrote for the Planescape setting for D&D and for the redesign of D&D with the 3rd edition. Many of the people who followed him online became supporters of his crowd funding efforts.

Kickstarter has become integral to MCG. It is a marketing tool, it is a distribution tool, and it is a funding tool. The company’s success shows that that even the strangest ideas and find their audience online, make it to the digital shelves, and even succeed in a crowded market. Cook found a way to bring his ideas to the right audience through Kickstarter campaigns.

It is an RPG company and product line that survives because of the direct influence of its players. And MCG seems to be continuing this trend. It’s last standalone game released was No Thank You, Evil!, an RPG for families to play together, using the company’s simple Cypher rules to introduce roleplaying to children. The company has also rolled out three other realms for you to play in thanks to the World of the Cypher System Kickstarter.

Gods of the Fall is a game where players control deities rebuilding heaven on earth and fighting the tyrants that have taken over the planet. It will be released at the end of June, with a free preview available now. Who wouldn’t want to play god? Predation is about time travelers using future tech and genetically engineered dinosaurs in the Crustacean era, and possibly preventing the meteor strike that will end that era. They had me at “riding dinos.” The third is Unmasked and is about dark superheroes with delusions, which they call “dissociative mask disorder.” But how crazy can they be if the masks give them powers and visions of a better world? Perfect for fans of Watchmen and the like.

All of this content adds up to one company creating the most unique content for tabletop RPG fans. And with official organized play at game stores around the world coming in September, it doesn’t look like the weirdness will be stopping anytime soon. And that’s something you should be thankful for.

Tell us about your campaigns in MCG’s weird worlds below. Or share your experience with another odd RPG you have played.

Image Credit: Monte Cook Games

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