Saturday, February 2, 2013

Post Modern Horror Done Right - Unknown Armies

Warning this post deals with some Mature Themes 

New School/ Old School or whatever school there is one game that does surreal horror right and I used to play it right along side of a number of games. 
 Trust me yes you do. 
How the hell do even begin to explain the crazy and out there world of Unknown Armies.
Lets let Wiki explain it instead 

Unknown Armies (abbreviated UA), subtitled "A roleplaying game of power and consequences", is an occult-themed roleplaying game by John Tynes and Greg Stolze and published by Atlas Games. The first edition was paperbound and published in 1998 (with the original subtitle of "A roleplaying game of transcendental horror and furious action"); the revised and expanded 2nd edition was published in a hardbound format in 2002 (with a second printing in 2004 and a third printing in 2007).

The game is set in a modern-day "occult underground," populated by loose networks of shadowy cabals and practitioners of magic. The style and setting of the game draw on a number of influences, including the fantasy novels of Tim Powers, the crime novels ofJames Ellroy, the films of David Lynch, the Illuminatus! Trilogy, and comic books such asGrant Morrison's The Invisibles. The game creates an extensive postmodern mythology of everyday weirdness and magic that lurks in the shadows of the mind.
 I didn't play it with any of the above material instead I used an ancient Peter Jackson movie that just seemed to go right along with it. 

 That's right I used Bad Taste mixed in with Unknown Armies, Over The Edge and threw it in a blender. 
The results were shall we say very interesting to say the least.
The game was one of the longest running campaigns for a "new school" game. If you want to know more information about the surreal and dark horror of Unknown Armies then by all means visit John Tynes webpage for a metric ton of support for the game right over Here
Out of the older editions books that were the most useful were the following: 
  1. One Shots: Five Stand-Alone Scenarios This is one of the beginning adventure books 
  2. Lawyers, Guns, and Money: The New Inquisition Sourcebook You need this book
  3. Postmodern Magick: The Unnatural Sourcebook (usually abbreviated PoMoMa) Essential to gaming 
  4. Statosphere: The Invisible Clergy Sourcebook
  5. Hush, Hush: The Sleepers Sourcebook
  6. Weep: Six Scenarios of Woe and Ruin
  7. To Go: The Occult Roadtrip Campaign
    Really sets the tone and gets things moving  
  8. Break Today: The Mak Attax Sourcebook
  9. The Ascension of the Magdalene

If your interested in buying the game and getting things moving buy the new edition. Right over Here

Because of the way the system works for the game it can be run with any number of other games.


 The way I ran the game was everyone was going after everyone else and almost everyone thought that they knew the actual truth and various groups simply took advantage. There wasn't any truth and the whole thing kept creating alternative worlds.
The magic system made Mage look like a tinker toy and there is enough material to keep every horror rpg fan satisfied.
If you want to get a taste of what its about. Here's a basic adventure to get a feel for the game. That's right HERE


I've got a metric ton of money invested in OD&D and AD&D so I used the various fantasy worlds as the collective human unconsciousness and various dream worlds. There are have been some very surprised adventurers from various game worlds that have essentially popped in to the "real world" of Unknown Armies.
The percentile system of the game makes conversions to the various D&D style tropes very easy and essential. The game is straight up violent and deadly.

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