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John Blake (The Strange)

StrangeLogoOne of the things I do when I’m reading through a game book is try making a character. When I was browsing a copy of Monte Cook Game’s new setting The Strange, I decided the character I wanted to make would be something like a John Woo hero: all bullets and slow motion acrobatics.

Character Type

The first step is to pick a character type.  In the Strange, that’s Vector, Spinner, or Paradox.  For the character concept I’m looking for, Vector makes the most sense. It’s tough, it has speed and accuracy, and it’s all about direct approaches including violence.  Sounds about right.

Character Descriptor

Next up we need a descriptor.  I considered Fast, Clever, and Sharp-Eyed, but eventually I realized Graceful was the best fit.  Graceful covers the acrobatic dodging actions, but also some side benefits, like being able to perform.  Many classic John Woo characters play instruments, so it fits really well.  The resulting character is highly skilled at dodging, fast, acrobatic, and can play and instrument.  Sounds like what I’m looking for.

Character Focus

Lastly, I need to pick up an Earth Focus for the character.  The first choice that stands out is “Is Licensed to Carry” but the more I looked at it, I decided to take the detective angle which is common for John Woo characters. For that, “Solves Mysteries” starts looking good. It also brings a little diversity to the build, which for the complexities of the modern world, and the likely need to investigate before shooting a place up, seems like a smart move.

Better yet, “Solves Mysteries” is a draggable focus, so it can be brought into a new recursions when leaving from Earth, which is the default base of operations for The Strange.  That means when traveling to a recursion where I think it would be useful, this Focus can come with me instead of taking on a new one.  This can even be an exception when going to a recursion for which the character already has another focus.

John Blake

Your classic maverick cop detective type. He use to work for the Seattle Police department but his run-ins with the edges of the Strange got him dismissed from the police force.  It also brought him to the attention of The Estate, who promptly hired him to be an agent when they realized he was Quickened.

A former Detective, now just Mr. Blake, has a serious no-nonsense look at life.  It’s probably from being a homicide detective and seeing the nasty side of society.  When he does relax, it’s typically to some blues or jazz music, and Blake has been known to play a few instruments including the harmonic and the sax.

Blake’s intense focus and graceful but dangerous moves, and his preference for gunplay to a straight up fight, are consistent across most recursions.

A Graceful Vector who Solves Mysteries

  • Might: 10
  • Speed: 14
  • Intellect: 12
  • Effort: 1
  • Might Edge: 1
  • Speed Edge: 1
  • Intellect Edge: 0
  • Cypher Use: 2
  • Defensive: Trained in Speed Defense actions, and Specialized in Speed Defense when not wearing armor. Enabler.
  • Practiced With All Weapons: You can use any weapon. Enabler.
  • Physical Skills: Jumping, Running. All tasks involving Balance. All tasks involving physical Performing Arts. Enabler.
  • Translation: Especially Effective at Easing Translation
  • Moves:
    • Pierce (1 Speed point): This is a well-aimed, penetrating ranged attack. You make an attack and inflict 1 additional point of damage. Action.
    • Fleet of Foot: If you succeed at a difficulty 2 Speed roll to run, you can move a short distance and take an action in the same round. Enabler.
  • Tier 1
    • Investigator: You can spend points from your Might Pool, Speed Pool, or Intellect Pool to apply levels of Effort to any Intellect-based task. Enabler.
    • Sleuth: You are trained in perception. Enabler.
  • Equipment: Street clothes (Cheap business suit), Light armor (Trench coat with liner), Assault Rifle (FN F2000), Heavy Handgun (Desert Eagle), laptop computer, flashlight, utility knife, cell phone, and $300.  Likely spend some of that cash on a Harmonica so I can play the blues.

In other Recursions:

It’s not necessary to preselect foci for the known recursions, but I imagine having some ideas ready to go would speed up translation. So what kind of Foci would Mr. Blake take on in other Recursions?  Lets do some spit-balling:


As I’ve noted in a past blog post, I’m personally not a huge fan of this recursion, so let’s run with that and make Mr. Blake not a fan of it either.  Largely he finds the idea of a video game world galling to his sensibilities, having a similar opinion of real video games.  Also distasteful to him, when he translates there he takes on a rarity for himself: a melee combat focus.  For a character that likes guns and ranged combat, finding yourself with small blades is probably annoying.

Wields Two Weapons At Once fits this idea, and again has the advantage of being dragable.  Hey, maybe at some point Blake needs to come back from Ardeyn for a big fight, and the ability to wield dual guns would be more useful than investigation.

I’m unsure if he would remain human in this setting. It might be fun for him to be a qephilim, and neither like it or even understand it very well.  “I’m an ancient being from a race that was invented about a decade ago?”


For this recursion Spawns, as in “spawns clones” is the idea that catches my attention for Blake.  Why?  Why not?  A every good Wu style gunman needs a partner, so why not yourself?

Atom Nocturne

For this super powered world, I think Regenerates Tissue makes an interesting choice.


This is a world of post apocalypse destruction, so Lives In The Wilderness makes a useful and interesting choice, as the wilderness here is radioactive ruins filled with mutated monsters. It also provides some broadly useful skills options that as a Vector, can occasionally be used with the Reach Beyond ability.

Crow Hollow

In this world, Blake’s musician side is enhanced.  He becomes a Kro who Entertains. He likely plays a lot of music, but given his beak, the harmonica and sax would not be his instruments. Maybe some kind of guitar or lute?  Again, it also provides some possibly useful skills for use in other recursions through the Vector ability.

Graveyard of the Machine God

Here, Mr. Blake becomes a Sacrosanct that Integrates Weaponry, essentially becoming a cyborg warrior that exists primarily to fight and shoot.

Thunder Plains

The obvious option for Blake is Carries A Quiver.  It’s primarily a combat orientated focus, but the ability to make bows and arrows might prove useful in dealing with the people of the Thunder Plains as well.


I thought this would be an interesting setting for Abides in Stone, but unfortunately that Focus is a very bad fit for Mr. Blake.  Instead, the less interesting Is Licensed To Carry would seem to make the most sense, although I rather expect dragging Solves Mysteries from Earth would be the more usual option. I’d also probably make him a Vampire instead of a human.

Side Note: The Translates Focus

One focus that I’m also interested in is the Translates focus, which essentially accessible with any translation, but can not be started with.  It’s a focus built around translating itself, not the world being translated into, and features the ability to bring & translate a single bit of gear with you, such as turning an M16 into a unique repeating crossbow on Ardeyn. Because it’s not associated with a recursion, I’m listing it here.

3 thoughts on “John Blake (The Strange)

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