25 November 2019 | Genesys

Genesys Foundry Spotlight: Something Strange

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Welcome to the Foundry Spotlight! Every month, we ask fans of our community content creation marketplace for the Genesys Roleplaying game, The Foundry to submit a request for the product they want us to take a closer look at. Then one of our RPG developers writes up an article about what they find fascinating and enjoyable about it!

This month, RPG Producer Tim Huckelbery takes a look at Something Strange by Scott Zumwalt, which can be found here!

Something Strange

Two things I have to start with: first, like all of us at FFG’s Roleplaying Department, I’ve been very happy to see all the great work folks have done for Genesys Foundry products. Second, I love horror, and so was delighted to see Scott Zumwalt’s excellent Something Strange become this month’s Genesys Foundry Spotlight subject. If you like horror, then this a perfect item for you. Even if you don’t follow horror that much, it’s still a great addition to any Genesys library.

So, what do you get in Something Strange? Quite a lot—it’s over 40 pages and packed with content. Most importantly, though, it’s a great example of modern horror. This setting allows for a great combination of horror staples like vampires and werewolves but in places and times that are very familiar to us. This makes things feel immediate and thrilling—what you’re playing could be going on while you’re strolling downtown or near that old abandoned house at the end of the street. Scott captures this right off the bat when he discusses the themes and tropes for Something Strange. Here we see magic and supernatural creatures (which could include you!) that could be lurking in the shadows of our own world. Monsters and magic users exist in Something Strange, and the words make it feel like they could really be out there.

You’re playing humans in this game and you get three new archetypes to expand on the four from the Genesys Core Rulebook. The Athlete’s ability to nimbly react to combat threats is perfect for humans who face superhumans, and I can’t wait to try it out. Along with these there are over a dozen careers to boot, so there are plenty of player options to pick from.

You’ll find lots of new talents for PCs in Something Strange, but there are two noteworthy ones that can make you a vampire or a werewolf. Rather than using new archetypes to create these supernatural beings, as might expected, Scott uses a new talent for each. This allows players to discover a hidden past or a supernatural aspect for their characters during play, and it’s quite clever. Both Vampire and Werewolf are Tier 1 talents, so it’s also easy to buy them whenever you want or even at character creation.

Additional talents work with them, so your vampire can gain Blood Potency or take on a Bat Form, while a werewolf can make a Summoning Howl or become an Expert Tracker. Overall, it’s a smart way to allow for supernatural player characters to emerge and grow in power.  

If you’re not feeling thirsty or hungry, though, there are also powerful talents for humans that help you cast magic with less effort or detect characters who are supernatural. And these PCs will need them—it’s a dangerous world when you step into the shadows.

The new rules within all add good flavor to the game. My favorite concerns weapon noise, a nice touch as modern weapons are generally very loud! Of course, you could equip your firearm with a suppressor (also included) but sometimes ya just gotta be loud as you kick the door open and blast away at the bloodsuckers.

Speaking of firearms, you get quite a few here—not too surprising as it’s a modern setting—but it’s cool to also see unique items like crossbows and tasers. There are also flashy cars and even helicopters for your hunters. I especially liked the magical items like Houdini’s Pocket Watch, which improves your Augment spells.  

As can be imagined given a horror tone, there is a plethora of adversaries (including some who can act as allies), plus named characters who can really add flavor to adventures. There’s a great range of monsters, from moth men to jackalopes. Some things (literally) don’t even have names, like the mysterious “Specimen ZZ-331” (a very nice touch that clicks well with a modern setting).

If all of this wasn’t enough, Scott’s done superlative work in crafting a wonderful graphic design for Something Strange complete with cool art. It boasts a very creepy cover and a unified and appropriately sharp presentation style. Everything captures the setting; even the fonts feel like they are from a Hammer Horror film from the 70’s. These aspects may seem minor, but when well done (like here) they help to hold your attention as you’re reading and keep you immersed in the setting.

Bottom line: This is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to do horror games. Even if you’re not planning on using the exact setting, Something Strange has enough cool weapons, talents, and monsters to make it worthwhile for many other games too. I really liked it, and I think you will too. I’m looking forward to seeing adventures in this setting as well, as the world it creates feels very compelling. So get out there and grab a stake—there’s something strange in the shadows!

Thanks, Tim, and thank you to Scott Zumwalt for your creation! If you enjoyed this Foundry Spotlight, be sure to submit your vote for the subject of next month’s Spotlight article. Send an email to [email protected] with the name of the product you want us to feature in the subject, and your reason for picking it in the email.

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