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Opinions wanted on UNKNOWN ARMIES

Coyote's Own

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#11
Here's something I'm curious about. I don't know how true this is (if at all), but one thing I've heard from several people is that in UA there really aren't any monsters as such: no ghosts, no vampires, no demons, no Lovecraftian abominations. Rather, I've heard that the characters in UA are basically fighting other humans (who have magical abilities) and/or hallucinations of their own making. Is there anything to this?
I assume someone did convey the setting properly.
The fact is pretty much all of supernatural that you will find is either human created or human adjacent (going is game semi-motto "You did it"), but there is non human supernatural out there.
There, for example, clockwork (clockwork creature create by the setting tech mages), persons (creatures created humanities feel of lack of identity in modern society).
There even Lovecraftian in esthetics (thing shoggoth) Unspeakable Servants, who you summon and bind.
This also might come from the fact that possibly most common (adn some of the most dangerous) supernatural the players can encounter Demons, who are in fact ghost of people driven by obsession.

This kind of fits with SH, where the monsters are supposed to the manifestation of psychological trauma.
 

Coyote's Own

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#12
I know you are not asking about that and it is offtopic, but Kult seems to be a very good fit setting wise for a Silent Hill style game.
You could possibly make Silent Hill a purgatory, but generally, the supernatural of Uknown Armies is more personal than that of Kut.
Like the town reflects the psyche of those who enter it.
 

Miss Atomic Bomb

Welcome to your life. There's no turning back.
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#13
Here's something I'm curious about. I don't know how true this is (if at all), but one thing I've heard from several people is that in UA there really aren't any monsters as such: no ghosts, no vampires, no demons, no Lovecraftian abominations. Rather, I've heard that the characters in UA are basically fighting other humans (who have magical abilities) and/or hallucinations of their own making. Is there anything to this?
Well, sort of. The game's motto is "you did it," and all of the supernatural phenomena center around humanity. You don't have the traditional array of monsters, but there's plenty of stuff that's horrific or hard to explain.

For example, Abandonment Tissue is a link between people who have lost someone. It gives them ghostly presences in each other's lives... but they may be separated across vast gulfs of space and time. There's a lot of room for things that generally relate to humanity to become strange and monstrous, as well as to have supernatural things that don't conform to the rules provided for higher tier players.
 

Neaden

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#14
Here's something I'm curious about. I don't know how true this is (if at all), but one thing I've heard from several people is that in UA there really aren't any monsters as such: no ghosts, no vampires, no demons, no Lovecraftian abominations. Rather, I've heard that the characters in UA are basically fighting other humans (who have magical abilities) and/or hallucinations of their own making. Is there anything to this?
Kind of. Basically in the default background of UA is very human-centric. So there are ghosts, and you could have some weird person who drinks blood for magic, but no demons or Lovecraftian abominations. There are some supernatural creatures that are basically animals though, and dangerous. There are also some just plain weird things that just kind of exists, like the Rooms of Renunciation. These are places that kind of exist out of time and space and have the purpose of testing and subverting people. They test some aspect of a person and try to invert it. There are also random weird things like an apartment building that might try to eat you.
 

DJChallix

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#15
Kind of. Basically in the default background of UA is very human-centric. So there are ghosts, and you could have some weird person who drinks blood for magic, but no demons or Lovecraftian abominations. There are some supernatural creatures that are basically animals though, and dangerous. There are also some just plain weird things that just kind of exists, like the Rooms of Renunciation. These are places that kind of exist out of time and space and have the purpose of testing and subverting people. They test some aspect of a person and try to invert it. There are also random weird things like an apartment building that might try to eat you.
It *does* all sound pretty damn cool. Hmmm.....
 

Black Flag

Dweller on the Threshold
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#16
Unknown Armies assumes that there’s nothing out there more powerful than humanity in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn’t mean everything has to make sense from the human perspective. It may be that, to some extent, shit just doesn’t make sense, even if, somehow, we’re right there in the center of all of it.

Because, really, do we even understand ourselves all that well?

It’s a postmodern horror where there’s no assumption that there is anything to understand beyond our own experience. But it’s also humanistic in that the default motivation for PCs is to impose some sort of sense onto the world, even if it’s of their own design.

Haven’t had a chance to play with it yet, but I have the 3rd edition and am pretty interested in trying someday.
 

Thuvasa3

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#17
The thing to keep in mind for Unknown Armies is that the horror is not "horror," meaning Freddy Krueger, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Ring, etc. The horror is REAL horror. The horror of watching someone die of cancer, or of an addict destroying themselves despite love and support from their family. It is the horror of obsession and desperation.

There are monsters, as previously said, but they aren't alien. So, no Cthulhu or similar. That said you can run Call of Cthulhu with UA really well. They fit great.

To me, the real problem people have with Unknown Armies is that it's too good as a tool box, and doesn't hold your hand enough, so you kind of don't know what to do with it. It's like being a little kid and getting in a car. You know basically what a car does, but you don't know how to start it, or put it in gear or roll down the windows.

To get a feel for it, I would watch the movie Lord of Illusions. For the street level, you're the detective. For the global level, you're the cabal/cultists, for the cosmic level, you're the cult leader.

OR, if you like poker, read Last Call, by Tim Powers. UA is *HEAVILY* influenced by Tim Powers. In Last Call, you basically have a competition between avatars to ascend as the True King (in UA terms) fought using ritual magic, thuggery, and poker.

As far as using it for Silent Hill, the caveat will be that it will feel like a video game, in that the players will start to acquire hardened notches, so what scares them a ton at first stops working as they become more jaded. Which, for that type of game, might be fun!

My two cents of course,

Thuvasa3
 

DJChallix

Gygaxian Gen-Xer
Validated User
#18
To me, the real problem people have with Unknown Armies is that it's too good as a tool box, and doesn't hold your hand enough, so you kind of don't know what to do with it. It's like being a little kid and getting in a car. You know basically what a car does, but you don't know how to start it, or put it in gear or roll down the windows.
Is it really a tool box though? Just from reading through it (I'm also reading through the 1e core rules as well, which I also have) it strikes me as having a very strongly defined setting, with key NPCs (that billionaire cultist chap whose name escapes me, or that porno star who has ascended to godhood, etc.) and a fairly well-defined cosmology. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but as I was reading it this morning I was thinking that it was really intriguing but also limiting in a sense. Maybe I should go for something more generic, but I have to admit I keep getting drawn back to UA.
 

Miss Atomic Bomb

Welcome to your life. There's no turning back.
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#19
Is it really a tool box though? Just from reading through it (I'm also reading through the 1e core rules as well, which I also have) it strikes me as having a very strongly defined setting, with key NPCs (that billionaire cultist chap whose name escapes me, or that porno star who has ascended to godhood, etc.) and a fairly well-defined cosmology. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but as I was reading it this morning I was thinking that it was really intriguing but also limiting in a sense. Maybe I should go for something more generic, but I have to admit I keep getting drawn back to UA.
Which edition are you reading?
 
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