On the Renegade Octopus blog, Kassil Roshah elegantly summarizes the premise of The Strange RPG from Monte Cook Games and explains who will like it. “In the earliest days of the universe there arose an alien civilization that quickly developed advanced technology, on the order of Kardashev IV or V — masters of the universe itself, who decided that the cosmos simply wasn’t sufficient for their purposes. They altered reality itself, creating the foundation of what we know today as dark energy; they designed it as a universe-wide computational network, which they could use for nearly any purpose they felt like. They’d upload themselves into the network, transfer across it to whatever world they wanted to visit, and literally ‘print’ a new body on the other end of the trip.
“Somewhere along the way in the billions of years since then, things have gone awry. This first civilization is gone entirely; perhaps ascending to a post-cosmological existence as a Type VI civilization, perhaps simply going extinct from boredom, perhaps destroyed by planetovores (we’ll get back to that terrifying word soon), perhaps something else unimaginable. The dark energy network remains, however, and has grown along with the universe itself — with a distinctly odd quirk.
“The network is so powerful a processing system that it can simulate microscopic segments of an actual universe, you see. Some worlds — those which have the good fortune to develop sapient life — are what get termed ‘Prime’ worlds — those whose collection of thinking, dreaming, creative minds seed the dark energy network with their creativity, giving birth to recursions — fictional worlds that generate from the ideas that take root in it. Most worlds only generate a few of these worlds from so-called fictional bleed, but Earth is special, with a vast number of fictive worlds in what gets called the Shoals of Earth. […]
“if you liked shows like The X-Files, Supernatural, Grimm, or Constantine, or similar types of books, The Strange is a game you’ll want to give a look. In the course of a single session it lets you go from a cop on the streets of Earth to a heroic knight in a high fantasy kingdom to a deep-space explorer in a sci-fi recursion. You can borrow shamelessly from your favorite pop culture and literature, because the recursions around Earth are literally made of these things. And you can even delve into the swirling fractal chaos of the Strange itself, exploring the universe that underpins the universe – and perhaps even explore alien worlds in the ‘real world’ in the process.” (Renegade Octopus):