In a previous post, I invented a John Woo inspired player character for The Strange named John Blake. The character was created as a starting Tier 1 Earth-born, but I went on to list probable foci for various other recursions. Since I wrote that blog post, more supplements for The Strange have been published, including In Translation, which has more foci, and Worlds Numberless and Strange, which adds more recursions. To that end, I thought it would be fun to revisit John Blake and see what has changed, and what he could change into.
As a reminder, this is a hypothetical character. I’m not actually playing in a Strange game, and I don’t have a GM to whom I could ask permission for various concepts.
Same Old Blake
In Translation gives several new ability options for Vectors and new descriptors to pick from, but nothing I think is better or more fitting to my concept of John Blake than what is already in the original post: A Graceful Vector with abilities and build focused on ranged combat and dodging attacks.
New Foci for Existing Recursions
I wasn’t thrilled with all my focus picks in the first post. While the core book has plenty of options, there wasn’t always something interesting and new for every recursion that still fit within my character concept and John Blake’s build. In Translation gives several new options, some of which I think are a better fit for the original recursions of the core book:
Originally I picked Regenerates Tissue for John Blake in this super powered psionic world, but with more options open now, I think Projects Energy (IT) fits the setting concepts and John much better.
My original pick for John Blake in this urban fantasy recursion was Is Licensed To Carry, but the new Serves and Protects is more interesting to me, particularly in an urban setting. It integrates the character into the world and provides some useful features for non-combat situations that might arise.
Worlds Numberless and Stranges gives us several more recursions, and a few foci, to pick amongst. The book gives foci options for the new recursions, but doesn’t explicitly include Foci from other sources very often. Despite this, I will still be choosing among In Translation foci in many cases, as I think some of them work well. In Translation foci are noted with “(IT)” to make it clear the source.
First of all, John would absolutely be an Atlantian in this recursion. I’m tempted to actually push that further and have his Focus be Aspires to be Posthuman (IT), but its features don’t line up well with John. I’m also tempted by Practices Soul Sorcery, and Keeps a Magic Ally (IT) to get on the mystical nature of the city. Learns Quickly (IT) is my choice, however, as it plays up the nature of the recursion and the superior atlantean form John has in it, while still providing abilities that should help him in many situations. As a bonus, it’s draggable.
Camelot Le Morte
In this distorted arthurian world John is a mécanisme with the focus Is a Cyborg (IT). It would be interesting to play a nano-infected character with a blaster in his arm in a world with knights and wizards. That he might be co-opted by the machine mind a bit could also make for fun roleplaying.
A terrifying nazi world with mad science and some terrible magic. It’s very tempting to take a high-tech focus here, but considering only nazi experiments and Übermensch have that kind of obvious tech, It’s probably not a good idea when attempting to keep a low profile. To that end I choose Operates Undercover, which could be helpful in keeping a low profile for as long as possible.
In keeping with John’s theme of taking on non-human forms in strange lands, here he becomes a goblin. In this recursion he also takes on the Practices Soul Sorcery focus.
For once I’ll have John stay human when another option is provided. Here, John is a dinosaur hunter using the Slays Dragon focus, and I’ll take up the offer of using a rifle instead of a lance as indicated in the recursion description.
In this innerspace inspired recursion John Becomes Bacterial, which fits nicely with his theme of frequently going native, and is by far the most interesting focus available to him in this recursion.
Another super hero recursion, this one more similar to traditional comics than the one in the core book. Translating here makes characters into super villains or heroes, so it’s important to think about what what kind to become. My first thought was Grows to Towering Heights (IT) seems fun, but doesn’t fit with Blake’s build or concept well. Instead, Soars Across the Sky hits the superhero vibe and meshes well with Blake’s speed and grace, and what’s more super heroic than flying through the sky?
New York Grey
Part of me thinks John as a Gray who Fires a Blaster (IT) would be interesting, but it’s probably a bit combat focused for a conspiracy laden New York recursion. I think the fun option here would be a Human that Is Idolized By Millions (IT), and it that provides lots of advantages given the setting. Of course a spinner would be better at it, but as a Graceful Vector, John does have a little bit of a background to back it up.
This fables inspired recursion with pirates, royals, and a dragon doesn’t actually grip me much. In theory, Wields Two Weapons would work for John, letting him use a cutlass and pistol like a proper pirate swashbuckler, but that’s not overly fun. I think the entertaining option might be Keeps a Magic Ally (IT) but describe the entity as a fairy living in a bottle instead of a genie in a lamp.
This recursions is unlikely to be translated into, and more likely to be visited via mater gate, so it won’t typically allow for changing focus. Solves Mysteries is a good fit for the world anyway.
How could a Graceful Vector not want the focus Pilots Starcraft in a space opera recursion?! I think it even provides a recursion appropriate ship! The harder question is would he be “alien” or human? I would lean towards a reptile looking humanoid alien race, because why not?
In this western/samurai combo setting, Blake is a gunslinger using the Is
Licensed to Carry focus. He would be styled as a Ronin with a revolver instead of a katana.
Yobuko racial option, but unsure what focus best fits the concept. I think it would be a good place for Masters Wuxia.
I actually find it odd that all the Ruk foci are available in this recursion. Not all of them seem appropriate for the “angels,” especially the metamorphosis focus. My inclination here is to use Fires a Blaster (IT), which would be interesting with the blaster being a “sacred relic,” but I can a similar effect from Wear an Iron Suit (IT), and the suit has a variety of abilities that would be useful in space, including immunity to vacuum.
The myriad of Tolkien/D&D worlds make up this interconnected branch of recursions. While some sort of sword fighting or archery character would fit the John Blake concept, why not mix it up a bit with something common to D&D: the Steals (IT) focus. This would essentially turn John Blake into a D&D rogue, skilled at breaking into and stealing things, which is fitting for a Graceful Vector. Despite my usual preference for making John a non-human, I think I wouldn’t avoid being Elf or Halfling.
For this setting, John Blake is a martial arts master thanks to the Needs No Weapon (IT) focus. I’m specifically avoiding the more supernatural Masters Wuxia (IT) focus. I like the idea that in a world of supernatural martial artist, John is a master of true hand to hand combat. Bruce Lee vs the Three Storms!
In this zombie apocalypse world, Quells Undead is an obvious choice, but having looked it over, I think Hunts Zombies (IT) is actually better. Quells Undead is broader in concept, working on nearly any undead instead of just zombies, and has its abilities spread out over the various tiers, eventually building up a large bonus in damage against undead. Comparatively, Hunts Zombies (IT) is a more specialized focus, working only on zombies, but providing some highly beneficial bonuses immediately, and then building from there. For Zed America, this zombie specialization is beneficial, and therefore in this recursion, it’s the better choice for a gun loving vector.