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[OSSR]Unknown Armies
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Longes
Prince


Joined: 04 Nov 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Inspired by this OSSR, I decided to reread some of the published adventures, and dear god, it is horrible.

A few of my favorite things

Change? Anyone got some change?

"A few of my favorite things" is an adventure for the Unknown Armies, written in "Weep - Six scenarios of Woe and Ruin".

Introduction
The adventure opens with the PCs walking somewhere late at night. A hobo walks up to them and says:
Hobo wrote:
"You’re in my city now,” he barks, “and I really, really love you."

The hobo walks away then. He doesn't respond if the PCs offer him money. If the PCs pursue him, he climbs into a dumpster and falls into coma. From now on players are not in the city they were before. This magical fantasy place has some differences from the real world: the phones aren't working, there are no street signs, all buildings are locked and empty, and the cars don't work and growl when touched.

From now on the players wander around the unfamiliar city, having four encounters. The first three can be in any order, the four is supposed to be the last.

The intro is okay for a urban occult game, I think. Its big flaw is that players have nothing to do and no known goals, other than wander around until an encounter happens.

Encounter One: The Gun

The PCs encounter two drunk women arguing. One is screaming "I'm a gun!', the other screams "She is a gun!". The second woman hides behind the PCs, and the first starts shooting bullets out of her mouth. She rans out of bullets after 6 shots. If the PCs avoid killing her, then they can learn women's names and learn that they are drunk, heartbroken, and don't notice anything unusual about the city. When leaving, one of the women says "After this, it’s time for some change."

Sub-encounter: the Ambulance
At any point the PCs might encounter an ambulance driven by a single paramedic named Jesus (he is hispanic, so hay-soos). He is a recurring character in the Unknown Armies setting. Jesus doesn't tell you anything useful and can't drive you out of the city (except when he can). He can, however, heal the PCs and prevent them from dying.

Encounter Two: The Bible
The PCs enter a street where all buildings are covered with the Bible pages. They notice a fat guy on the roof with a stack of Bible pages. He is hard of hearing, and glues Bible pages because Word of God binds the world together. As he tries to hear what the PCs are saying, he stumbles and falls of the roof. He survives, but is badly hurt. If the PCs put some Bible pages on him, then he gets relaxed and happy. Soon Jesus arrives and takes the guy away. When leaving, he says "Ah, that changes everything.”

Encounter Three: The Flag
The PCs encounter a crying little boy. He explains that he and his sister were kidnapped, but he escaped. He promises to give the PCs some change if they help him. If they do agree to helpm he leads them to the Veterans of Foreign Wars building. Inside the players the following:
Weep wrote:
In the large central hall, a small girl of six or so is sitting in a chair on the stage. Her hands are tied to the chair and she is crying softly, her eyes squeezed tightly shut.
Drifting in the air around her are the bodies of four dead boys, about eighteen years of age. Each has been dead for some time and they’re mostly desiccated, wearing the encrusted clothes they had on when they died in forgotten basements and warehouses. They bob around Lynn in complete silence like corks on water, making no motion except drifting, nudged by currents of air; their corpses are rigid and dry.
Occasionally something clatters to the floor: pennies, nickels, and other coins fall sporadically from the mouths of the dead floating boys. If possible, reinforce this by dropping actual coins on the floor during play a couple of times a minute during this scene.

The dead bodies just float around there, not doing anything to stop you from rescuing the girl. PCs can discover that the bodies are tied to the girl's head by thin strings. If the PCs cut the strings, then dead bodies float away into the sky. The boy doesn't give you any change, but suggest you collect some that dropped on the floor out of the dead bodies. All the coins are minted in 1963.

Encounter Four: The Automobile
The cars that were previously just growling wake up and begin attacking the PCs. As the PCs try to hide, Jesus appears and offers to give them a ride. Inside the ambulance is a dead body under the sheet (it's the hobo guy from the intro). The cars are following the ambulance, and ram it in the back, breaking the doors.
Weep wrote:
Clever PCs will take the assorted hints throughout the scenario and begin throwing change into the open front hoods of the cars. (Less-clever PCs can be encouraged in this endeavor by Jesus.) Lacking cleverness or change, the PCs might throw other objects into the cars’ machinery, or use firearms or spells.
Resolve these attacks as you see fit, and allow the PCs to destroy some of the cars by screwing up their works. Assume that a given car needs 20 Wound Points to be disabled, and that each coin does 1 point.

Of fucking course. Obviously, right?!
What is obvious though, is that throwing coins is worse than shooting. It's also pointless, because cars spawn infinitely.
At some point the hobo wakes up and Jesus walks the PCs through some emergency medicine.
Weep wrote:
If for some bizarre reason the PCs hurl the old man’s body out the back of the ambulance at any time during the chase, Jesus screams as they do it and there’s a tremendous wreck; skip the moaning and the revival and go straight to the conclusion.


Conclusion
Weep wrote:
The PCs are on foot, unharmed, in a lonely part of the city late at night. They might be leaving a rendezvous with a contact, or on their way to a bar, or maybe you’ve just put them in that situation for the purposes of this session. It doesn’t matter.
As they pass an alley, a disheveled old man in a filthy trenchcoat takes a step out of the shadows and leers at them. “All I wanted was some freaking change. Next time stay outta my city. I don’t love you anymore.” The PCs can resume their journey.


Final thoughts


We didn't learn anything, we didn't get anything, we didn't accomplish anything. This adventure is pointless. It comes out of nowhere and it ends completely randomly.

Fun skills
Three characters here are given a character sheet: the gunwoman, her friend, and a fat guy.

"Soul: Deny Misfortune 37%". The hell does that mean? What do you do with this skill?!
"Soul: Pick Up Older Men With Tracheotomies 44%". That's... oddly specific.
"Speed: Gunmouth 24%". Gunwoman can't actually hit anything ever.


Last edited by Longes on Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
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John Magnum
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That sounds like a whole lot of wandering around through bizarre dreamscapes full of mystified significance that make sense to at most one person at the table, gazing at some weird occurrence and doing nothing, and then... just a lot of observing and doing nothing.

Holy shit how ~evocative~.
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

John Magnum wrote:
That sounds like a whole lot of wandering around through bizarre dreamscapes full of mystified significance that make sense to at most one person at the table, gazing at some weird occurrence and doing nothing, and then... just a lot of observing and doing nothing.

Holy shit how ~evocative~.


That would be one thing, but there are no bizarre dreamscapes! You are not wandering through Narnia or Courts of Chaos, you wandering through the GTA city! The buildings are just empty boxes with textures over them!
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John Magnum
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So you're actually wandering through a really boring city, and then you stumble upon NPCs glitching out and shouting weird things and performing cryptic symbolic stuff. And you sort of nod sagely and go "Mmm yes change, how deep" and wander elsewhere.
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silva
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Aw man, that was lame.
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Paizil
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Do any of the other scenarios have more substance? Or is it an entire book of barely interactive vignettes strung together by weird for the sake of weird?
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Paizil wrote:
Do any of the other scenarios have more substance? Or is it an entire book of barely interactive vignettes strung together by weird for the sake of weird?


They are all written by different authors and vary wildly in size and format. "A few of my favorite things" was written by John Tynes. I suppose I can try and read "The Green Grass Grail" by Chad Underkoffler or "Stoon Lake" by Greg Stolze.


Last edited by Longes on Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Apparently pornstars have a lot of XP, because gag reflex suppression is a Body skill you can take (introduced in the New Inquisiton sourcebook). And buff as hell, because your skills can't be higher than your stats. Also Common Sense is a skill.

I sorta like UA skills, because they allow you to look at the charsheet and have a general idea of a character's personality. They are atrocious from the mechanical point of view though. Let's take the fat bible guy for example
Weep wrote:

Stats
Body: 60 (Chubby)
Speed: 35 (Clumsy) (F)
Mind: 55 (Directed)
Soul: 50 (Deluded)

Skills
Body Skills: General Athletics 33%, Struggle 45%
Speed Skills: Dodge 24%, Drive 26%
Mind Skills: Bible Trivia 42%, Notice Decay 52%
Soul Skills: Cheerful Conversationalist 44%, Lie Badly 15%


His Soul skills are very meh, but they describe him.
Btw, women and the fat guy have charsheets, hobo and the kids don't. Why? It's a mistery.


Last edited by Longes on Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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John Magnum
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wait, so if he has a 15% chance to Lie Badly, and he fails the roll, does he lie well? Or tell the truth? Or what?
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

John Magnum wrote:
Wait, so if he has a 15% chance to Lie Badly, and he fails the roll, does he lie well? Or tell the truth? Or what?


Either the universe divides by zero, or he fails to lie when he fails and lies badly when he succeeds.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
I sorta like UA skills, because they allow you to look at the charsheet and have a general idea of a character's personality. They are atrocious from the mechanical point of view though.


The thing is that there is a rather obvious compromise available. For example: in Feng Shui and Shadowrun there is a core list of fixed skills and then you are allowed to write whatever the fuck additional skills you want to provide backgrounds or knowledges or whatever. So in Feng Shui you got important core skills like Martial Arts and Infiltration, and then if you want to have Info/ Big & Heavy, you just fucking do that. In Shadowrun you have important core skills that are named things like Stealth (or Infiltration, depending on the edition) and if you want to have Knowledge: Elven Wine, you have a set of points reserved for that.

And both these games came out well before Unknown Armies did, so UA earns zero points for this in my eyes.

-Frank
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was thinking that characters should just take "Win the game" or "Succeed at things" and put maximum points in it, but I now realise, thanks to Lie Badly, that they should actually do the following:
"Fail to shoot someone in the throat - 1%"
"Tell the absolute truth without deceiving someone - 1%"
"Be noticed by people as you move around - 1%"

And so on
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momothefiddler
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Koumei wrote:
I was thinking that characters should just take "Win the game" or "Succeed at things" and put maximum points in it, but I now realise, thanks to Lie Badly, that they should actually do the following:
"Fail to shoot someone in the throat - 1%"
"Tell the absolute truth without deceiving someone - 1%"
"Be noticed by people as you move around - 1%"

And so on


Player: "I head to work"
MC: "Wait, so you're driving to work?"
Player: "Yes. Driving"
MC: "Not trying to shoot someone in the throat?"
Player: "...No."
MC: "Roll to see if you successfully fail to shoot someone in the throat while driving to work."
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Foxwarrior wrote:
GâtFromKI wrote:
Kaelik wrote:
Not being a big enough munchkin. Obviously the first skill you should write on your sheet is "Solve problems."

I prefer "Badassery". My character solves problem because he's badass. And he can do many other stuff. Because he's badass.

Anyway, I think our two characters are in the same tier and can play together. Wanna play UA?


You're both basketweavers. A real pro optimizer would take Failing at 1% and fail to fail at any task 99% of the time (for certain levels of task difficulty) for only one skill point.
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momothefiddler
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
Foxwarrior wrote:
GâtFromKI wrote:
Kaelik wrote:
Not being a big enough munchkin. Obviously the first skill you should write on your sheet is "Solve problems."

I prefer "Badassery". My character solves problem because he's badass. And he can do many other stuff. Because he's badass.

Anyway, I think our two characters are in the same tier and can play together. Wanna play UA?


You're both basketweavers. A real pro optimizer would take Failing at 1% and fail to fail at any task 99% of the time (for certain levels of task difficulty) for only one skill point.


Yeah, but until Lie Badly there wasn't RAW precedent for inverting the definition of success. It's fair to bring it back up now.
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I've read a scenario "Jailbreak" by Stolze. The premise is that four convicts have escaped the prison and are taking refuge in the old farmhouse. They've taken four hostages. Some players become robbers and some become cops hostages. Hostages want to survive and convicts want...? Not get caught by the police? The twist is that the owner of the farm house is a clockwork adept, with a deadly terminator in the cellar and a terminator dog. If he wants to kill the convicts, then he can just do it - the only weapon they have is a single gun. A very annoying thing is the lack of charsheets for any of the characters. They are given names and personalities, but not charsheets.
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silva
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ive heard Jailbreak is perfectly suited for introductory one-shots to the game. Can the clockwork terminator owner be an PC ?

Momothefiddler wrote:
Player: "I head to work"
MC: "Wait, so you're driving to work?"
Player: "Yes. Driving"
MC: "Not trying to shoot someone in the throat?"
Player: "...No."
MC: "Roll to see if you successfully fail to shoot someone in the throat while driving to work."

ROFL


Last edited by silva on Thu May 01, 2014 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yes, he can. He is one of the three people actually required to be a PC (the other two are a convicts leader and a prison guard they took hostage),
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GâtFromKI
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Koumei wrote:
I was thinking that characters should just take "Win the game" or "Succeed at things" and put maximum points in it, but I now realise, thanks to Lie Badly, that they should actually do the following:
"Fail to shoot someone in the throat - 1%"
"Tell the absolute truth without deceiving someone - 1%"
"Be noticed by people as you move around - 1%"

And so on

Yes, but as Frank explained, there are many rolls that don't depend on your skills - you auto-success if you have the right skill. So you will often auto-success at failing.

... I guess you may take "failling at some task - 1%" and "succeeding at the same task - 1%", and roll one or the other depending on the type of roll.
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erik
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I played that and wound up being the clockwork guy and was the only person killed since my terminator went on the fritz and smashed my head.

We had fun but I think 0% of that was due to the mechanics or setting.
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silva
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dont worry folks, an *World hack for Unknown Armies is on its way ! Mr. Green

(and damn, its looking really cool )
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

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silva
Duke


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

ROFL

Longes, what do you think of the supplement Postmodern Magick ? I found it awesome, with some really evocative ideas.
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

silva wrote:
ROFL

Longes, what do you think of the supplement Postmodern Magick ? I found it awesome, with some really evocative ideas.


New schools of magic? Cool.
School of magic based around being Tyler Durden and/or Darth Vader*? Cool.
School of magic based around lies and secrets? Cool.
School of magic based around lies and secrets always being at -10? Not cool at all.
Lancelot having "Kill things from afar" and "Kill things up close"? Cool, if I ever actually find a person to GM Unknown Armies, my character will have that.
I haven't checked the supplement for balance, but most of the ideas seem interesting.

*You get charges when people are angry at you, and your blast is a Force Choke. The taboo is displaying a strong emotion.
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Longes
Prince


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

AH wrote:
There are separate rules for using firearms (shotguns will kill you), knives, blunt objects, bulletproof vests, disarming attacks, throwing objects, throwing people, critical hits, "sucker attacks" (i.e. feinting), etc. Which is fun and exciting when you could seriously get beaten to death by a guy with the Brick skill, and that somebody with Pistols skill actually is less dangerous if you hand him a rifle.


Special ammo? That's a +10 to damage. Not that it matters, because your 12-gauge shotgun slug is already going to do 80 points of damage and most people start out with a Body <55.

Also, for reasons I don't understand buckshot does more damage than slugs, except 28-gauge 'shot which does less. I don't understand that.


I've been recently rereading UA (since my group might play, and, honestly, UA can produce some fun characters) and decided to right this wrong.

You see, guys, firearms are actualy not as threatening in UA as are sharp objects. Here's why:
When you attack with a gun, you roll 1d100<[Skill], and then deal this result as damage. If the damage is higher then the maximum damage of your gun, then you deal maximum damage of your gun. 02-09 is treated as 2-9. If you roll 01, then you deal maximum damage of your gun. So the fact that a shotgun has maximum damage of 120 is actualy pretty meaningless. This means that with a skill of 50%, you deal [2-50]&{maxdamage}.

Now, with a melee weapon you make an attack roll (1d100<[Skill]), and then deal sum of the dice plus weapon's bonus as damage. 02-09 is treated as 12-19. Weapon's bonus ranges from +3 (knife) to +9 (fire axe). If you roll 01, then the enemy is dead or knocked out. Now, fire axes aren't exactly hard to find and keep around, so your character (Killing things up close 50%) deals 11-28. Much more consistent than what a firearm does. As a nice little bonus sharp weapons deal 1 point of damage even when they miss. Additionally on matched successes you get cherries.
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