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Sad Mammal
Feb 5, 2008

You see me laughin



Greg Stolze, holding his degree in Awesome


Greg Stolze. A name you may have heard before. If not, shame on you; the guy's responsible for a poo poo load of cool RPGs. His most well-known RPGs: Unknown Armies, Reign, Nemesis, Wild Talents, and Godlike.



You did it!

The Setting: Hoo-boy, where to start? This is an urban-fantasy/post-modern horror setting where Barney Gumbel can use magic to kick the poo poo out of a trained soldier. If you're at all familiar with the works of Tim Powers you know the deal. If not, Peter Hindman aptly describes it as, "Quentin Tarrantino's Call of Cthulhu." You know the typical criminal underworld? Well imagine that, only the unsavory types now have the ability to do things like sculpt flesh to their will or make you blow your brains out literally with the power of money.


The System: I love this thing. I love it so drat much. Know how d% systems work? It's just like that. You roll d100 and compare that to a relevant stat, hoping to roll at or under the specific stat.

I really can't worship the character generation enough. It's fast as hell; if you know what you're doing it'll only take about 25 minutes to make a character from scratch. You have four stats: Body, Speed, Mind, and Soul. Under each of these stats goes a relevant skill. Along with these, you have what are called "Stimuli". These allow you to invoke a specific stimulus (either "Fear", "Noble", or "Rage") to allow for skill check modifiers that fit your character's personality. For example, you can lash out at something that provokes your character's anger stimulus, and if the roll fails you can re-roll once a game.

The sanity system in Unknown Armies is usually the one thing people take with them after a game. And for good reason; it, like the rest of the encompassing system, kicks rear end. You know how Call of Cthulhu has its measly little sanity rating? YAWN. Unknown Armies has five drat sanity bars, each representing a different form of psychological damage. There's Violence, Unnatural, Helplessness, Isolation, and Self. Rather than whittling down an allotted amount of sanity a la Call of Cthulhu, UA offers characters the chance to toughen themselves up to the madness around them, but not without consequence. Too many failed sanity checks and you turn into a high-strung mess, succeed too many checks and you become a calloused sociopath.


Combat in the game is decidedly vicious. To give you an idea as to how brutal it is, this is the intro to the combat section:





Helpful Links:

http://www.atlas-games.com/unknownarmies/index.php Contains a bevy of helpful downloads, including a .pdf preview that contains just about all of the rules a starting PC would need.

http://ua.johntynes.com/ Collection of fan-made material of varying quality, still updated from time to time.

Sad Mammal fucked around with this message at May 22, 2010 around 00:18

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Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


This new systems thread trend in TGD is probably the coolest one so far, way better than the 4e owns bullshit
Unknown Armies probably changed how I look at RPGs more than any other game I own. Six Ways to Stop a Fight supremacy

Adepts are probably my favorite part of Unknown Armies, gathering charges based on your obsession and using thematically appropriate magic owns. Epideromancy still creeps me out.
But the dependency between the forms of magic and the activity is the best part. A Videomancer uses magic to make life more like TV, significantly alter emotional and personal connections, but to actually get the power to do that they have to isolate themselves and obsess over TV and ruin any kind of actual personal connection they might develop. They can't ever actually be a part of the real world unless they give up their magic, both their method of gaining charges and what their spells do.

My only complain with Unknown Armies is that cosmic level isn't as interesting as street and global

Cyrai
Sep 12, 2004


I really like the concept of the system, especially the adepts, but it seems like it would be really hard to actually run. I can't think of a campaign hook that would hold a group together. Everyone would run off, trying to follow their own addiction, completely ignoring the plot hook and maybe the other players. They'd almost certainly destroy themselves before they're 'done' with their addiction, and then the game would fall apart. For that matter, I can't even imagine what a plot hook would be for a game of Unknown Armies. How do you run this?

That Rough Beast
Apr 5, 2006
One day at a time...

Cyrai posted:

I really like the concept of the system, especially the adepts, but it seems like it would be really hard to actually run. I can't think of a campaign hook that would hold a group together. Everyone would run off, trying to follow their own addiction, completely ignoring the plot hook and maybe the other players. They'd almost certainly destroy themselves before they're 'done' with their addiction, and then the game would fall apart. For that matter, I can't even imagine what a plot hook would be for a game of Unknown Armies. How do you run this?

The way to run Unknown Armies is to basically take the plot of any Tarantino or Coen brothers or Robert Rodriguez movie, or maybe your favorite Cormac McCarthy novel, and pretend what would happen if half the people in it could do magic, or were acting the way they act to fulfill some bizarre magic ritual. For example you could do something like Se7en or Silence of the Lambs, or any classic serial killer film and have the killer be an adept or an avatar or just some dude doing a weird ritual. Or you could do something like Scooby Doo where you had a bunch of adept buddies gathered together to do their own thing and solve periodic mysteries for fun and profit. Or you could basically have a version of Ghost Hunters that was actually legit.

The setting also provides multiple groups that the players can be involved with: The New Inquisition (the magic mob) is a good one, or there's Mak Attax if you're feeling a little sillier, or the Sleepers if you want to play a spin on maintaining the Masquerade. Basically everyone and everything in the setting is a great hook - like the artifact box full of trapped demonic souls that some people theorize is hell. I believe that Mak Attax, well-intentioned idiots that they are, actually want to OPEN it.

Unless your players are douchebags it's quite possible to create a functional group and slot it right into the setting, at least in my experience.

EDIT: If you're more curious, check out the Unknown Armies book "One Shots", which has several really good ones. Even if you don't want to play Unknown Armies, I would say this book is worth getting, because many of them could work in almost any setting.

Xand_Man
Mar 2, 2004

If what you say is true
Wutang might be dangerous


No seriously, Greg Stolze is loving awesome.

UA is awesome.
Godlike is awesome.
Wild Talents is awesome.
REIGN is awesome, and comes with in the insight that lying, begging and making wisecracks are common enough PC behaviors that they deserve their own skills.

Kerberos Club wasn't written by him, but it uses ORE so he gets more awesome because of it.

Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


Xand_Man posted:

UA is awesome.
Godlike is awesome.
Wild Talents is awesome.
REIGN is awesome, and comes with in the insight that lying, begging and making wisecracks are common enough PC behaviors that they deserve their own skills.

Greg Stolze also worked on Demon: the Fallen, Hunter and other White Wolf games. Even as bad as the oWoD was his stuff was amazing. He even wrote the only game fiction I saw non-gamers reading with the trilogy he did for Demon; it freakin owns. Read it. Demon in general still holds up, it has amazing writing and ideas (just ignore the system)

Ferrinus
Jun 19, 2003



The Demon trilogy and two of the Vampire: the Requiem books (A Hunger Like Fire and A Marriage of Virtue and Viciousness) are phenomenal.

Stolze trivia, he initially wanted to call the first vampire novel "My Drinking Problem".

Impermanent
Apr 1, 2010


After you read Unknown Armies, everything you see becomes Unknown Armies. The Colbert Report ripping on O'Reily becomes a an upstart challenging the old Godwalker of the Demagogue. Wikileaks becomes a platform for the attempted ascension of the Anonymous Whistleblower. The old guy who comes into your local diner every day, pays in lint, mutters about the dogs he's seen, and gets coffee and a bagel becomes a burnt out Urbanomancer.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

You pick up the nugget of URANIUM and...

Oh that was so stupid. Why would you do that?


So who gets to do the big Reign infopost?

Also, if people wern't aware, Greg has the Kickstarter up for Nain, a new stand-alone setting for Reign.

quote:


SHARE THIS PROJECT WITH YOUR FRIENDS
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GRAB THE WIDGET
EMBED ON YOUR SITE

SHARE THE LINK

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

NAIN is a complete, fully laid out miniature setting for the REIGN roleplaying game ( http://www.gregstolze.com/reign/ ). If the ransom is met, I'll release the PDFs onto the internet, for free, in perpetuity.

Inspired by JK Rowling, Fritz Leiber and Gormenghast, Nain is a kingdom dominated by wizards. Any family could have an enchanter born into it, waiting to be swept into one of the three great schools to harness his power.

The supplement contains...
* A description of the nation, its tragic history, and its uncertain future.
* Descriptions of enchantment's peculiar monsters, with an easy One-Roll system for generating more.
* Company stats for the great families of wizardry, their hidden rivals, and the secretive cabals that pursue magical enlightenment... or the darkest of blasphemies.
* A redesigned magic system, built from the ground up to provide flexibility, uncertainty, and character focus. Knowledge is the spark of sorcery, but passion is the fuel.

If you're a long-time REIGN fan, NAIN presents an entirely new setting. If you're just getting started with Enchiridion there's no better way to see the system at work.

-G.

That Rough Beast
Apr 5, 2006
One day at a time...

Impermanent posted:

After you read Unknown Armies, everything you see becomes Unknown Armies. The Colbert Report ripping on O'Reily becomes a an upstart challenging the old Godwalker of the Demagogue. Wikileaks becomes a platform for the attempted ascension of the Anonymous Whistleblower. The old guy who comes into your local diner every day, pays in lint, mutters about the dogs he's seen, and gets coffee and a bagel becomes a burnt out Urbanomancer.

This is exactly correct.

Another thing I really liked was how the different types of adept all work on the same principle (get three flavors of charges, spend 'em for magic) but that the way each school gains or loses all charges influences how they play. So you've got something like the Bibliomancer, who can store up massive amounts of charges, but only gains them by purchasing rare books vs. something like the Dipsomancer, who gains juice from drinking alcohol and can generate a BUNCH of charges in a short amount of time, but loses them as soon as he passes out or sobers up, and is of course rip roaring drunk and clumsy the entire time. It's a completely different economy.

My favorite is the Oneiromancer, who gains charges from staying awake, and loses them all by falling asleep. A day or two into this cycle, he's a powerhouse, but he's also a barely functional, incoherent zombie struggling through sleep deprivation to do anything. I sure hope you don't need him to drive somewhere! And as soon as he falls asleep, he's utterly helpless.

Cyrai
Sep 12, 2004


I'm finally reading through the GM section, and it answers a lot of the questions I had earlier in the thread. They have detailed guidelines on how to build a campaign, complete with examples. It's really helped explain how to put something together in the UA world, and it's pretty transferable knowledge as well. Great system, great game

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Cyrai posted:

I really like the concept of the system, especially the adepts, but it seems like it would be really hard to actually run. I can't think of a campaign hook that would hold a group together. Everyone would run off, trying to follow their own addiction, completely ignoring the plot hook and maybe the other players. They'd almost certainly destroy themselves before they're 'done' with their addiction, and then the game would fall apart. For that matter, I can't even imagine what a plot hook would be for a game of Unknown Armies. How do you run this?

It seems to me that it's really easiest to start things at the street level. The characters are probably clueless, which makes it easy to turn anything into a plot hook, and plausible to hook them up semi-mundanely-- from personal experience, members of a school club, or junior partners in a private detective firm.

For global level, you make the macguffin something that all of them might want, or something none of them would want anyone else having. Having Adepts or Avatars in the group makes it more complicated, so you have to appeal to them more strategically. Knowledge, the opportunity to take a rival down a few pegs, favours from fellow conspirators, or maybe a tiny, tiny vial of Herzwesten dark for the Dipsomancer.

Cosmic level campaigns seem more like an illustration of how things work nearer the level of the Archetypes, and how it affects characters much further down the totem pole, than a really easily played campaign type.

Cyrai
Sep 12, 2004


I like the adept system so much that I'm going to write a brief overview of how it works for people who aren't familiar with the system.

Adepts are obsessed. They're obsessed to the point that they have an addiction. An incredibly intense addiction. An adept's addiction isn't what they do. It isn't even who they are. An adepts addiction is what the world is, as far as they're concerned. An adept's addiction is every single thing to them. Their belief is so powerful that it can actually shape the outside world.

For example, take the Conspiromancer. Conspiromancers see conspiracies everywhere. A Conspiromancer is going to spend their lives tracking down all the hidden connections between things that nobody else sees or believes. Conspiromancers know that there aren't just coincidences, and they need to spread the word.

To shape the world and do their magick, adepts have to live their obsession. Adepts have three charges: minor, significant, and major. Adepts gain charges by acting out their obsession to varying degrees.

A Conspiromancer gets minor charges through a number of ways. Anytime they get confirmation that a well-known figure has a secret, they get a minor charge. Any time they figure out the hidden link between two facts, they get a minor charge. For every nine people they convince, they get another minor charge.

It's a lot harder for a Conspiromancer to get a significant charge. They have to make a national figure admit a wrongdoing or a lie nationally. They have to expose a simple conspiracy at a national level. They can also get significant charges if they convince 333 people of a known conspiracy.

To get major charges, Conspiromancers have to make international figures admit to things or uncover evidence of a multinational conspiracy that has previously been kept from public knowledge. The last way is to fully and completely prove that the magickal world is real.

Adepts use these charges to cast their magick. Zapruder Tape, for one minor charge, lets them review events they witnessed to pick up new details. A minor charge for The New World Order lets a Conspiromancer figure out the power structure of any official or unoffical group. Two minor charges lets a Conspiro hide a message for someone in a seemingly undecipherable rant. Three for Casaubon's Tap lets a Conspiromancer create the rumors of a conspiracy to sniff out other conspirators.

A significant charge for Second Gunman immediately convinces another person of an incorrect conspiracy. Secret Handshake #23 gives the mancer the sign to convince anyone that they're actually a member of the secret organization for a significant. (Redacted) erases a single fact for a month. Majestic makes a document convincing, and Panopticon lets a Conspiromancer watch a suspect on CCTV, even if the nearest camera isn't turned on.

Major charges let a Conspiro destroy all official records of something. They can also create new connections between two groups out of nothing, or learn the secret inner workings of any group.

Most Adepts also have a blast, usually a minor and a significant blast. These are the damage dealing spells of an adept. A Conspiromancer can use a few minor charges for Magic Bullet, which spontaneusly makes the victim the recipient of an alleged assassination attempt. Some major blasts creates a conspiracy dedicated to ending the life of the target.

Last, all asepts have taboos. Violating a taboo immediately removes all charges from the adept. A Conspiromancer's taboo is admitting that they were mistaken r told a lie. No matter what lengths they must go to to explain their behavior, a Conspiromancer must create some reasn that explains their inaccuracy without admitting that they made a mistake or else they lose their charges

That Rough Beast
Apr 5, 2006
One day at a time...

Cyrai posted:

Most Adepts also have a blast, usually a minor and a significant blast. These are the damage dealing spells of an adept.

The blasts are another awesome part of the game. They could have just had them straight up be damage, but they took the time to add some nice flavor to them. For example, the Oneiromancer blasts you with a nightmare so bad that having it might just drive you crazy, but if you can stay awake until he falls asleep, it fades harmlessly away.

Nothing beats the Plutomancer's blast, though, which manifests by making you gently caress yourself up. Slam your fingers in the door, shove your foot in a lawnmower, jump into traffic. And God help you if you're holding a gun at the time...

The Plutomancer is one of my favorites because it embraces player character tropes and backhands them at the same time. See, the Plutomancer gets charges when he gets money, and players love to get money. But if the Plutomancer ever spends too much money at once, he breaks his taboo and loses everything. To be a Plutomancer is to be a guy who is always chasing money and who might be rolling in it, but who can never spend it.

That Rough Beast fucked around with this message at May 22, 2010 around 06:34

Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


That's the fun thing about all of the Adepts. They can't actually enjoy their obsession without coming close to breaking a taboo. They can't even really use their powers to fuel their obsessions since they'll just need to build those charges up all over again and then they can use their powers but then they have to use their charges and find a way to get them back and then
And of course it's impossible to have a normal, functioning social life as an Adept.

Fidel Cuckstro
Jul 2, 2007



Mikan posted:


Unknown Armies probably changed how I look at RPGs more than any other game I own. Six Ways to Stop a Fight supremacy


I completely agree with this.

I discovered the UA sanity system when I was playing a lot of oWoD Vampire, and I really wanted to port it in over the humanity system. The humanity system, while not terrible, required a lot of focus from the storyteller to keep the double-edged sword of high-humanity/low-humanity. Also as a player you usually felt you had to decide where you wanted your character to end up on the humanity scale before you got too deep into the game (in part because you had to spend xp to buy it up...and while there's a certain thematic "a-ha!" in the players opting to buy more levels of potence than buying humanity, I never felt like that really got through to a lot of players). Also, humanity was something that mattered outside of "the moment".

The UA sanity system, though, had two brilliant features. First- you were expected to ping-pong between failing your stress checks and then trying to harden yourself up. This was great because you could really play through both sides of the coin and get a sense of character change. Also, you could get a real sense of the downsides of both (with extensive failures you feel as if control is taken away from you, with extensive hardening you become less and less a real person). Also, the sanity checks were woven into the combat/conflict resolution system, meaning it was with you when the dice were actually rolling.

edit- the sanity system was also brilliant in it wasn't just a violence or seeing weird poo poo meter. The self and
helplessness meters immediately encouraged GMs to play around with how characters acted when they would do things like barricade themselves in hotel rooms to stay safe from enemies, etc etc.


The stimuli system is also great as a "rule that makes roleplaying happen", and sometimes forgotten about in comparison to the fun of the sanity system. When it comes down to it, UA characters (esp. street level ones) have very low success thresholds on their skill checks. Activating a stimuli, though, gives you a much larger chance of success. With them, you give a huge bennie to every player simply for being able to answer the question (and I'd probably argue more than anything this is the most important question in actually "Roleplaying") "why does my character give a poo poo about this scene?" If they can explain how these gang members beating up a girl activates his noble stimulus of defending the innocent or whatever, that player has a much better chance of winning/surviving the fight.


The rumors/stuff you know pages in UA were also classic.


Later I'll post the summary of the UA campaign my younger brother ran a few years back for me. It was probably the best tabletop game I was ever in.

Fidel Cuckstro fucked around with this message at May 22, 2010 around 08:03

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

Gravy Boat 2k

Stolze is basically the smartest dude working on our dumb playing-pretend hobby and more power to him. I'm posting from my phone and can't really do a full writeup, but ORE is awesome, the way ethnicity is handled in the default REIGN setting is awesome, and his ransom payment method is awesome and really should be used by more content providers all around.

Test Pattern
Dec 20, 2007

Keep scrolling, clod!


In-setting adepts SUCK. They suck hard, they suck forever, they can never stop sucking, and when they die they probably wind up tortured ghosts/demons who make other people suck. The sucking is the POINT of adepts, they never anywhere near make up for what they lose with what they gain: Every adept ever is an unlovable, terrible loser who -- if he's lucky -- winds up a burnt out mess.

Avatars rule. Avatars are every other system's "Rule of Cool" or "stunting" distilled down into a page of rules and extended to almost every field of human endeavor "I'm a better salesman because I act like a salesman" is awesome. They're not on some dumbshit treadmill, they're stones tumbling downhill, picking up speed as they go.

That said, adepts can be a far more intense roleplaying experience if the GM can actually hook them into the game (doing so can be haaaaaard).

northerain
Apr 8, 2007

by Tiny Fistpump


I'm doing some art for a sourcebook for ORE called ''Better Angels'' and it's looking really good. Superhero villains are being ridden by demons and the only way to stop them from doing really horrible things is to do slightly less horrible things so that you can keep them happy.

Cyrai
Sep 12, 2004


Hey guys. Write up reviews on how the sanity meters and the avatars work so people who don't know the system can get into the discussion and learn some stuff and maybe buy the game

Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


If you don't already own Unknown Armies or don't want to buy it based on the Greg Stolze name alone then, well,

Somebody else can talk about Avatars. I'll post a little bit about the Madness Meters.

There are five categories: Violence, the Unnatural, Helplessness, Isolation and Self. They're ranked from 1-10, with 1 representing something relatively easy to cope with (be attacked with a weapon, particularly strong deja vu, humiliate yourself in public, spend a day without seeing anyone you know, break a minor promise) and 10 representing something mind-shattering (watching someone you love be tortured to death, realize the reason you and your husband of 10 years never had children is that he's not really a human being, be possessed and conscious as your body commits unspeakable acts against your will, spend a month in a sensory deprivation tank, deliberately destroy everything you've risked your life to support)

There are two sets of "notches" that go with each meter. Hardened notches (ranked 1-10) and Failed notches (ranked 1-5).
When you have to roll a stress check, you make a Mind roll. If you succeed, you check off the lowest unmarked hardened notch - if you fail, you check off the lowest unmarked failed notch and either freak out or stand still or go berserk.
When you have a hardened notch, you no longer have to test against that particular rank of that madness meter. Someone who has been shot at multiple times is eventually going to get used to it - they have hardened notches, and it's changed them. You can handle the stresses of the world just fine but you've become that guy who doesn't flinch when someone's beaten to death, who thinks it's just another part of life. Who cares? You're unable to make a connection with other human beings; you're becoming a sociopath.
When you have a failed notch, the stress is too much for you to handle. You start going insane. After a bunch of failed notches in the Unnatural, you start having frequent nightmares and paranoia. Failed notches in Isolation and you have frequent panic attacks whenever you're alone. Failed notches in Self mean you become more introspective, feel like you're acting out someone else's life.

You can have both hardened and failed notches in the same meter - someone with a bunch of hardened and failed notches in Isolation understands that people are inherently alone, you don't care about other people, you don't see the point in trying to make connections - but you're suffering from insomnia, the sheer weight of your isolation makes you prone to panic attacks, you talk to yourself and think out loud, you can't handle silence.
Or someone with failed and hardened notches in Helplessness - you can't trust anyone, you're terrified by surprises, you panic, but at the same time you've developed a complete disconnect from free will. The world is destined to screw you over, your life is always going to be terrible, everything is either predetermined or absolute random chance (and it's going to screw you either way) so what does it matter? The book gives this example: "So my brake cable snapped and my gas pedal got stuck down to the floor. What makes you think someone tinkered with my car? poo poo happens."

There's some more to it but those are the basics. As you get farther and farther into the occult underground, as you're exposed to more terrible things you are always changed by what you've experienced. You've either been broken by them and can barely function, or you've become jaded to the point where you're no longer capable of interacting with normal people.

Fidel Cuckstro
Jul 2, 2007



^^^

Two minor additions to this.

First- and it's been a while so I may be slightly off- how failing a sanity check ties to a given combat or conflict is pretty obvious. You are told to freak out and generally can't act. However, as you build up hardened checks in these meters, you are also adversely affected. High levels of hardened generally interfere with "soul" related skills. Also, once you are completely hardened in a given meter, you can no longer use your various passion stimuli to help you increase your chances of successful rolling. You're left without enough humanity to feel nobility or rage or fear.

Second- I believe the only way to reduce your meters in either direction is to (a) undergo therapy or (b) there are certain, uh, esoteric rituals that may be able to help you...(these, if I remember correctly, almost always result in your meters going up)




I can probably say a little about Avatars.

The cosmology of Unknown Armies is based on the idea of a group of 333 celestial archetypes that define the world. Well, there aren't 333 yet- once 333 have been collected the world ends (I don't think any book ever went into detail how you would run this end, it's generally described as just a "reset" and it pretty much won't happen in a game). These Archetypes are in essence the defining characters of the world. The Executioner, The True King, The MVP...the concepts that define a given archetype can feel like they're from different times, but they have to be universal to all mankind.

Those who know of the occult and the celestial chorus know they can attempt to be "in tune" with one of these archetypes and gain certain mystical abilities. Mechanically, this is represented by a single avatar skill that works like any other skill in the system (and grows based on the same mechanic). Similar to "adepts" who can lose magical charges by not giving in to their obsession, avatars can lose affinity for their archetypal skill by breaking any sort of bans they may have (the MVP shies away from a challenge or expects less of himself, the executioner doesn't, well, execute). I don't have any great listings of what you can do with an avatar skill- maybe someone else can copy a particular example?

Now, being an avatar also involves you into some serious occult politics. See, the celestial chorus are, generally, real people who best exemplified their archetype. Robin Hood, for example, is the actual archetype for the noble thief. However, that person is only in the chorus because they're still the most thought of example of that archetype. By becoming an avatar of Robin Hood, though, you're also putting yourself up as a possible replacement for that chorus member. As your avatar skill reaches the highest levels (this generally involves becoming a very public figure, since people need to associate you with the archetype), you are on the verge of replacing the prior chorus member...who may have some influence on the world still, and is not going to be looking to get ejected (there's a hint that ejected chorus members return to earth alive with hints of what happened to them and a drive to return to the chorus). If you hit 100% with your avatar skill, you ascend to the chorus.

The setting and system also provides for characters looking to create their own archetype.

Squidster
Oct 7, 2008

Life's just better with Ominous Gloves.


You sonuvabitch.

I was trying to save money this month. Order'd from Amazon.

The moment you mentioned that was a world according to Tim Powers, whose works I spend too much time reading, I was already reaching for my wallet. Looking at the preview PDF stuff, I'm impressed by how simple and narrative focused the mechanics are. It's also very similar to the d100 system in Dark Heresy, so it doesn't seem like it would even be a huge transition for our regular gaming group!

I'm going to start planning out plot shenanigans now, and I'm eagerly looking forward to running a game of this.

homerlaw
Sep 21, 2008

Plants are the best ergo Sylvari=Best


I read through the main book a few months ago, and just had a possibly good idea. The SCP Foundation- http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/ basicly a X-Files type deal, there are a lot of SCP's that are these artifact type things. Player's would be agents, possibly adepts, for either the Foundation itself, The new inquisition, or the Sleepers.

wargames
Mar 16, 2008

official yospos cat censor


Mikan posted:

buy it Greg Stolze name alone

For us L5R goons he made the Ryoko Owari/City of Lies boxset back in first ed.

Cyrai
Sep 12, 2004


Here's the section that people have been mentioning, Six Ways to Stop a Fight. This is at the beginning of the chapter on combat. I figure this should be OK because it doesn't contain any rules. If it goes against the rules, I'll take it down, mods.

quote:

Chapter Four
Combat


Somewhere out there is someone who had loving parents, watched clouds on a summer's day, fell in love, lost a friend, is kind to small animals, and knows how to say "please" and "thank you," and yet somehow the two of you are going to end up in a dirty little room with one knife between you and you are going to have to kill that human being.
It's a terrible thing. Not just because he's come to the same realization and wants t osurvive just as much as you do, meaning he's going to try and puncture your internal organs to set off a cascading trauma effect that ends with you voiding your bowels, dying alone and removed from everything you've ever loved. No, it's a terrible thing because somewhere along the way you could have made a different choice. You could have avoided that knife, that room, and maybe even found some kind of common ground between the two of you. Or at least, you might have divvied up some turn and left each other alone. That would have been smarter, wouldn't it? Even dogs are smart enough to do that. Now you're staring into the eyes of a fellow human and in a couple minutes one of you is going to be vomiting blood to the rhythm of a fading heartbeat. The survivor is going to remember this night for the rest of his or her life.

Six Ways to Stop a Fight
So before you grab that knife, you should maybe think about a few things. This moment is frozen in time. You can still make a better choice.
Surrender. Is your pride really worth a human life? Drop your weapon, put up your hands, and tell them you're ready to cut a deal. You walk, and in exchange you give them something they need. Sidestep the current agenda. Offer them something unrelated to your dispute, and negotiate a solution.
Disarm. Knife on the table? Throw it out the window? Opponent with a gun? Dodge until he's out of bullets. Deescalate the confrontation to fists, if possible. You can settle your differences with some brawling and still walk away, plus neither one of you has to face a murder charge or a criminal investigation.
Rechannel. So you have a conflict. Settle it a smarter way. Arm wrestle, play cards, have a scavenger hunt, a drinking contest, anything that lets you establish a winner and a loser. Smart gamblers bet nothing they aren't willing to lose. Why put your life on the line?
Pass the buck. Is there someone more powerful than either one of you who is going to be angry that you two are coming to blows? Pretend you're all in the mafia and you can't just kill each other without kicking your dispute upstairs first. Let that symbolic superior make a decision. You gain clout for not spilling blood.
Call the cops. If you've got a grievance against somebody, let the cops do your dirty work. File charges. Get a restraining order. Sue him in civil court for wrongful harm. You can beat him down without throwing a punch.
Run away. The hell with it. Who needs this kind of heat? Blow town, get a job someplace else, build a new power base. Is the world really too small for the both of you? It's a big planet out there.

Oh Well
Still determined? Backed into a corner with no way out? Have to fight for the greater good? Up against someone too stupid to know this is a bad idea? Or maybe just itching for some action? So be it. The rest of this chapter contains rules for simulating the murder of human beings. Have fun

Test Pattern
Dec 20, 2007

Keep scrolling, clod!


Squidster posted:

You sonuvabitch.

I was trying to save money this month. Order'd from Amazon.

The moment you mentioned that was a world according to Tim Powers, whose works I spend too much time reading, I was already reaching for my wallet. Looking at the preview PDF stuff, I'm impressed by how simple and narrative focused the mechanics are. It's also very similar to the d100 system in Dark Heresy, so it doesn't seem like it would even be a huge transition for our regular gaming group!

I'm going to start planning out plot shenanigans now, and I'm eagerly looking forward to running a game of this.

It is %1000 Tim Powers: The RPG. Specifically, Avatars are shamelessly lifted from the Fault Lines trilogy, but the stance towards combat is in-line with Powers, as is the general attitude towards Magic and related fields (ie, Don't do this, you don't want to do this, it's not going to help, you're life is going to get hosed up forever).

If you like powers, play it.

Baby Babbeh
Aug 2, 2005

It's hard to soar with the eagles when you work with Turkeys!!





UA is seriously amazing. It's the best urban fantasy setting, hands down. NWod isn't fit to hold UA's nuts, and I say that as someone who loves nWoD. It's the best example I can think of mechanics underpinning and reinforcing a style of play, as opposed to flavor being imposed externally, which is usually the case.

Vaginal Vagrant
Jan 12, 2007
I like rocks, I like sticks.

How tied are the rules to the setting? Could you port them to a past or future setting easily enough? I mean if Robin Hood is the archetype of noble thieves, that suggests to me maybe I could run a campaign in medievil england for example.

Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


They wouldn't be hard to move to a new time period or setting - the usual modern issues apply, like getting rid of Firearms or whatever - but UA is amazing for any game that involves lethal combat and people who really want things

Baby Babbeh
Aug 2, 2005

It's hard to soar with the eagles when you work with Turkeys!!





Ir's pretty universal, I'd say. You could easily run UA in a medieval or futuristic setting if you wanted, given that skills are basically prose qualities and most of the low-level mechanics are similarly adaptable.

The one thing that might be wonky are Adept powers, given that most of the schools of magic are very tied to a modern day setting. Off the top of my head, videomancy, pornomancy, narco-alchemy, and urbanomancy would be out for a pre-modern society, and mechanomancy and bibliomancy might be similarly challenged depending on how far back you went. Most of the schools would change flavor-wise, so like a plutomancer would get money from hording gold coins. It would be significantly harder for most adepts to gain charges, in any case.

Avatars wouldn't be affected much, since they're universal archetypes by definition, and as such wouldn't be too out of place no matter what the setting. Ritual magic probably wouldn't be affected much either, since rituals are universally old and require you to do ridiculous poo poo anyway.

northerain
Apr 8, 2007

by Tiny Fistpump


Baby Babbeh posted:

UA is seriously amazing. It's the best urban fantasy setting, hands down. NWod isn't fit to hold UA's nuts, and I say that as someone who loves nWoD. It's the best example I can think of mechanics underpinning and reinforcing a style of play, as opposed to flavor being imposed externally, which is usually the case.

What's hilarious to me is that the core nWOD book is a complete rip off of UA. You can see it in the fluff (''this man always looks blurry in photos'') in the beginning of the book and all throughout. They tried to do a similar kind of weirdness for the mortal side of nWOD.

The funny thing is of course that the game doesn't actually support the weirdness they're implying. It's all changelings and vampires.

Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


I don't get the last thing you said - nWoD has plenty of creepy weird stuff that doesn't make any sense. The Night Horrors line, Mysterious Places, Urban Legends, Antagonists. Even in the main lines you have plenty of things that don't conform to the standard rules or are way weirder than they seem

northerain
Apr 8, 2007

by Tiny Fistpump


Mikan posted:

I don't get the last thing you said - nWoD has plenty of creepy weird stuff that doesn't make any sense. The Night Horrors line, Mysterious Places, Urban Legends, Antagonists. Even in the main lines you have plenty of things that don't conform to the standard rules or are way weirder than they seem

Maybe it's my pet peeve. I always find nWOD lacking in horror because everything is quantified. If you're a player and you know nothing about the settings, maybe you can enjoy it more, but as an ST, that freaky monster thing isn't that scary if you can nail it as a ''Ridden''(from Werewolf) or a lowly vampire.

Red_Mage
Jul 23, 2007
I SHOULD BE FUCKING PERMABANNED BUT IN THE MEANTIME ASK ME ABOUT MY FAILED KICKSTARTER AND RUNNING OFF WITH THE MONEY


Baby Babbeh posted:

UA is seriously amazing. It's the best urban fantasy setting, hands down.

Little Fears: Nightmare Edition would have words with you sir.

FirstCongoWar
Aug 21, 2002

It feels so 80's or early 90's to be political.


northerain posted:

Maybe it's my pet peeve. I always find nWOD lacking in horror because everything is quantified. If you're a player and you know nothing about the settings, maybe you can enjoy it more, but as an ST, that freaky monster thing isn't that scary if you can nail it as a ''Ridden''(from Werewolf) or a lowly vampire.

Honestly this isn't as much of a problem as it used to be, if the GM is coming up with his own ideas instead of just taking things out of the books.

But who cares, I just bought Reign, let's talk about it.

The One Roll Engine is weird, but that's all I've read so far.

Vaginal Vagrant
Jan 12, 2007
I like rocks, I like sticks.

Baby Babbeh posted:

The one thing that might be wonky are Adept powers, given that most of the schools of magic are very tied to a modern day setting. Off the top of my head, videomancy, pornomancy, narco-alchemy, and urbanomancy would be out for a pre-modern society, and mechanomancy and bibliomancy might be similarly challenged depending on how far back you went. Most of the schools would change flavor-wise, so like a plutomancer would get money from hording gold coins. It would be significantly harder for most adepts to gain charges, in any case.

So there's a fixed amount of Adept schools? How hard would it be to make new ones, or change the current ones? I don't know, maybe paintomancy for videomancy?
Why would urbanomancy be out for a pre-modern setting? How about ancient Rome or 1600's London? Could they work with it?
Would the flavour changes have a big mechanical effect?
Why harder to get charges?

I really like this addiction magic idea and the mechanics for mental issues seems well implemented and like the bookkeeping is remarkably easy for something with such detail.

Baby Babbeh
Aug 2, 2005

It's hard to soar with the eagles when you work with Turkeys!!





No, there's no limit on adept schools. Basically anything that you can be obsessed with can become an Adept school. What it is really is the power of your obsession forces reality to conform to your warped world view, enabling you to do stuff that would be impossible normally. There's a couple requirements, the power you get from your school has to have a paradox somewhere at its root, but that's sort of defined loosely. For example personomancers from the core book are obsessed with the truth of identity, but the very nature of their powers proves that identity is mutable and truth doesn't really exist. There's rules for creating new schools in the book, so if you wanted to home brew something it would just take a little planning and creativity. The game's website has a number of fan created schools, some better than others, so that gives you an idea of what you can do with the system.

I guess urbanomancers wouldn't be exactly out in a pre-modern setting, but because cities tended to be a good deal smaller in many cases their utility would be more limited. I say getting charges would be harder for most schools because a lot of the ways Adepts get charges involve either other people or information, two things which are both easier to come by in a modern setting than they would be before the advent of mass communications and easy transportation. For example, Bibliomancers get charges by buying rare books, something that would require a much greater investment of time before the advent of Amazon.com. Personomancers would basically be unable to get a major charge, although they might have an easier time of getting significants because famous people would be known by name and general description rather than by sight. Cliomancers would be a lot more limited in the amount of charges they could harvest just because they'd have a harder time traveling to places of historical importance without modern transportation. By the same token, it'd be easier to get significant charges because there'd be less people fighting you for them.

Baby Babbeh fucked around with this message at May 23, 2010 around 10:38

Fidel Cuckstro
Jul 2, 2007



rock rock posted:

How tied are the rules to the setting? Could you port them to a past or future setting easily enough? I mean if Robin Hood is the archetype of noble thieves, that suggests to me maybe I could run a campaign in medievil england for example.

While the system has very little that forces it to stay purely modern, you should be careful since some of the thematic underpinnings may be a bit harder to move around. First of all, the system is very supportive of psychological/existential horror, and your mileage may vary in terms of how a time period shift allows you to keep that focus. Also, a lot of the weirdness (and sometimes horror) plays off the banality of modern day versus the bizarre beliefs and "realities" of yester-year.

In older times men had myths of dragons- a silly fear long lost to modern science or whatever. A UA story might posit that dragons did exist as a representation of something (maybe there's an avatar of "The Dragon", an element of change or violence or whatever you think a dragon really means) and there are still dragons today. Sure today's dragons are just men who fit with that theme of old, but they may still breath fire.

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Cyrai
Sep 12, 2004


Yeah, pretty much what everyone's been saying. Avatars would work pretty well, although one or two would have to go. To do justice to Adepts, you'd have to make a lot of flavor adjustments at least. Adepts are really closely tied with the times.
  • The Bibliomancer could stay with some small adjustments.
  • The Dipsomancer could stay, although I'm not sure the context would really be appropriate.
  • The Cliomancer would have to take on a more religious theme to fit with pilgrimages. I'd make it more based off of traveling to see religious iconography, like pieces of the True Cross or the remains of saints.
  • I don't know why, but I don't really see the Entropomancer really fitting in.
  • Epideromancers work in a religious context, like the monks who flagellate themselves.
  • Mechanomancers fit in perfectly in a Renaissance setting. They would still fit in with the world before the Renaissance, but they wouldn't make sense thematically.
  • Narco-Alchemists are basically straight out. You could maybe put them in as shamans, but not really. Or actually, straight up Alchemy could work.
  • Personomancers would really work better as an Avatar than a Adept in medieval times.
  • Plutomancers would work great among the merchant class, especially in Venice.
  • I don't think Pornomancers would fit in at all in medieval times. They'd only really exist in the Victorian era and beyond.
  • Urbanomancers make sense, especially since cities are relatively rare.
  • Videomancers would need a lot of work to make any sense

As far as new Adepts and Avatars, I'd add an Adept for coats of arm, a Heraldomancer. There'd definitely be an Avatar for Farmer, Hunter, Monk, and Beggar. Maybe Street Performer as well. There'd certainly be an Adept for ferreting out hidden religious messages, like the Kabbalah, but I can't think of a name. You might be able to work up a Feudomancer, obsessed with the structure of feudalism. There's also undoubtedly dozens of other I'm missing

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