Unknown Armies: Nothing Refreshes Like an Info-Dump

So, last night I ran some Unknown Armies for my Monday night group. We have a revolving-GM setup where we rotate between three different campaigns, with each GM running about four or five sessions in a row before the next GM gets a chance to run their campaign.

As it happens, one of the participants in the group volunteered for the Olympics this year, so because of that and various other factors there was a chunk of about a month or two where we didn’t meet at all. This means that there’s been a wider gulf of time than usual between Unknown Armies instalments, leaving everyone (including myself) a little hazy on what was actually going down last time we met.

This plus the fact that a chunk of the session was likely to be spent dealing with people’s downtime actions meant that the session was likely to involve a lot of time with me recapping old information and the players discussing that. This being the case, I decided now was a good time to inject a big fat info-dump to the campaign by having a bunch of the players’ investigations suddenly bear fruit in downtime.

This turned out pretty well. To be honest, one of the flaws of the campaign so far has been that there’s been slightly too much going on to properly address in the narrow four-session windows I have to run the game, so cutting some investigations short helped rationalise things appropriately. On top of that, by having the results of those investigations all have some relevance to the central mysteries of the campaign I think it’s helped the players refocus on their main aims here. Lastly, I think it’s helped prod the players over the tipping point where they feel they have enough background information to go out and do something proactive – meaning that they came out of this session with a firm plan of action, which of course helps me ponder what they are going to find next session. (This might also help enthuse one player who I think has found the campaign a bit over-talky so far.)

The nice thing about Unknown Armies, of course, is that it unfolds in a universe at home with the idea of synchronicity, so if having a bunch of stuff coming to fruition all at once starts to look a bit of a stretch you can rationalise it as the occult forces of the cosmos coming together in a way which happens to be beneficial to the PCs for once. Either way, the players seemed to enjoy the session for the most part and appeared more enthused for the campaign by the end than when they were at the session’s start – I certainly was – so job done.

The Siege of Mersadie Hive: Preparing the Waaaaaagh!

So, another Imperial Fist adventure happened recently after, against all expectations, my previous Fisting partners demanded more. Having mulled over their response to the previous adventure I thought I’d try my hand at preparing something homebrewed to fit the particular needs of the group, to wit:

  1. They needed to feel like their PCs were doing cool shit appropriate to their character concept.
  2. Since all the PCs are Space Marines, this means that as well as stuff suited to their particular strengths, they also needed a chance to kill things. Preferably lots of things.
  3. Since all the PCs are Imperial Fists, the adventure also needs to provide opportunities for player-directed comedy homoeroticism ritualistic religious and military practices which are in no way homoerotic.
  4. As they were very pleased by the new recruits they obtained in the previous adventure, ideally they ought to make another appearance.
  5. Since the group isn’t very invested in taking this campaign super-seriously the adventure should really take a reasonably casual-friendly format, optimised such that I can cut it short if it’s getting a bit old.
  6. Because I’m actually interested in the whole “really, really good at the whole siege thing” aspect of the Imperial Fists, I wanted to try to write a siege-based adventure.

Point 6 was actually the one which helped me solve more or less all the others. Siege-based adventures don’t seem very common in tabletop RPGs, and yet in this case I think it actually caters to our needs quite well. So, here’s a quick rundown on how I prepared my siege, breaking it down by how I tried to make sure each point 1 to 6 was catered to.

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