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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 149 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Unknown Armies, The Intro Adventure in the back of the book  (Read 3338 times)
Judd
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« on: April 06, 2003, 10:43:47 PM »

Played the adventure in the back of the 2nd Edition book, Bill in Three Parts and it was brilliant.  It made for a really nice intro for the game and my group really got right into it.

Also, it was incredibly nice to play a game set in the modern world, where inspiration can be found in the newspaper.  So nice to use a phone book to think of NPC names rather than making up faux fantasy names.

It was a nice break from our long running 3E D&D game.

Wanted to express some real enjoyment for the UA system.  The percentile system is simple but they way they have it set it with just a few more complications...flip-flops and the over skill but under stat skill resolution mechanic really makes for nice and simple but still elegant dice rolling.

The world is fun and the book is really well-written.

I also liked the fact that the GM keeps track of wound points.  The players only have GM descriptions of their wounds and how they are feeling.  One player got shot and just stopped.  Not because system told him to but because it seemed like the natural thing to do.

Another character failed a Helplessness check upon finding a dead body of a young girl and told me that he vomitted and then passed out.

And despite the vomitting and the GSW's, the players found time to be crafty and heroic.

A fun time.

I could go on and on but I just can't say enough nice things about the game.  Between this and Riddle of Steel, the one-shot I ran before this, and Sorcerer and Dust Devils before that I am really feeling the love from my indie RPG's.
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Drastic
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Posts: 23


« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2003, 12:41:26 AM »

It's real easy for me to enthuse about UA.

I loved the write-up on "Jailbreak" in the One Shots supplement so much I had to run it--which led to the only time I've ever wished for more than four players, but it worked out all right.  I think folks were a little thrown and suspicious at first of the adventure's structure of very much not being about the party, but of every character (just about) for themselves.  There was likewise some leeriness about not knowing numerically how hurt they were, but that also worked out to enhance their caution, and made Bors, the killer clockwork, far more frightening to them then he might otherwise have been.

I recently discovered Dreamwalker and fell in love again--with the ideas more than mechanics, which I only skimmed.  I'm planning an Unknown Armies campaign where the pc's begin as dreamwalkers and get sucked into the occult underground thataway.  I figure that problematic Bill Toge will make an appearance roundabouts episode three or so--I look forward to various quizzical "Are you sure we're not dreaming this?" reactions as he unfolds.
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Judd
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2003, 05:34:19 AM »

I found the Rage Stimulus, Noble Stimulus, and Fear Stimulus to be a bit like TROS's Spiritual Attributes, not quite as handy but it allows the player and the GM to get a grip on who this character is and why they're doing all this.

Obsession works that way too.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2003, 06:58:22 AM »

I've said this before, but Jailbreak is possibly the best one-shot I've ever seen in any system. Stolze's got good design, but his scenarios are brilliant. I can only recommend it.

Mike
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Rob MacDougall
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2003, 11:03:16 AM »

(Not sure if this is an appropriate direction to take this thread, but let me just toss it out there as a data point.)

I think UA is great, and I have an excellent game of it going right now, but I don't think very much of the Bill in 3 Parts adventure. It's got three exciting scenes, yes, but they're linked together for, well, almost literally no reason at all. Plus it uses the Number One Big Deus Ex Machina NPC of the UA cosmology, but in a very bland, pedestrian way.

"Unknown Armies is a game of power and consquences." What power do the PCs have in this adventure? What consequences are there to their actions? I guess there are UA fans who like weirdness for weirdness sake, but Bi3P seems to me to indulge a GM's desire to screw with his or her players' heads without giving them any pay-off in return. And the "Poof, now you're in this scene here" structure seems like the most preemptive sort of railroading.

Obviously this is just one reader's opinion, and Paka, I'm glad that your players enjoyed the game, but I'm curious: were they not frustrated by the, um, arbitrariness or impenetrability of this scenario? Do you think you could get away with running multiple scenarios like this?

I do, however, echo everyone's praise for "Jailbreak". I think all the one shots in One Shots are very fine.
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2003, 12:31:28 PM »

(Not sure if this is an appropriate direction to take this thread, but let me just toss it out there as a data point.)

I think it is entirely appropriate.  I like posts that make me think about why I like something.

"Unknown Armies is a game of power and consquences." What power do the PCs have in this adventure? What consequences are there to their actions?

I think the PC's have the power to set reality straight and reunite Bill into one whole being.  I think there is a nice twilight zone quality to the entire situation.

The resolution isn't neat and tidy but I don't think UA is a game where fit and tidy resolutions will happen every week.  I think the group liked an ambiguous situation and repairing reality for reality's sake.

I guess there are UA fans who like weirdness for weirdness sake, but Bi3P seems to me to indulge a GM's desire to screw with his or her players' heads without giving them any pay-off in return. And the "Poof, now you're in this scene here" structure seems like the most preemptive sort of railroading.

...but I'm curious: were they not frustrated by the, um, arbitrariness or impenetrability of this scenario? Do you think you could get away with running multiple scenarios like this?

I wouldn't want to run an entire campaign in this format with just breaches in reality cropping up at random and the PC's running around sticking their fingers in the leaks springing up in the cosmological dyke.  The game was a good springboard, they were at the right place at the wrong time...or the wrong place at the right time.  Whatever.

But I think it is a nice introduction into a cosmology that is built to have definite ideas and themes in mind while still remaining mysterious and most of all fun.

The game allowed the players to really test what they can do, it showed the consquences of playing around with Unnatural and most of all, like all good adventures, it made the players feel like heroes for a while.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2003, 01:00:41 PM »

Yeah, the Airport in Over the Edge makes no particular sense, either. But it sure can get a player in the right frame of mind to enter Al Amarja.

Mike
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Judd
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2003, 01:04:15 PM »

Yeah, the Airport in Over the Edge makes no particular sense, either. But it sure can get a player in the right frame of mind to enter Al Amarja.  
 
I thought the Bill Toges adventure did make sense in a Rod Serling kinda way.
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Drastic
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Posts: 23


« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2003, 03:54:11 PM »

I share some dubiousness with Bi3P, but I think there's definitely thematic grist to make use of in a larger campaign.  In mine as currently planned (definition of plan:  that which does not survive contact with the players), reflections and separations and snake-eating-its-own-tail imagery are big elements, and Bill will be a minor recurring character to that effect.
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Thomas Tamblyn
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Posts: 105


« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2003, 12:44:40 PM »

Me too.

I definitely saw Bi3P as, not an example of a typical UA episode, but as an introduction to the style of the game.
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