the World of Our Desires - inspired by Unknown Armies

  • 2 Replies
the World of Our Desires - inspired by Unknown Armies
« on: May 04, 2014, 02:42:31 AM »
Unknown Armies was my favourite RPG until I encountered Apocalypse World, and then it was love at first sight. The obvious thing to do after was that was put the two together in a candle lit room and play romantic music. I now have the pleasure of introducing their lovechild still in it's infant stages.

It all started on, with the announcement that the writers of Unknown Armies, the lovely Greg Stolze and John Tynes, were thinking of making a reboot. Then a joke about an Apocalypse World hack being called "the World of Our Desires". Then this happened on RPGnet.

The biggest problem I've found in Unknown Armies was that once my group established how the system worked, our playstyle felt very prescribed. We didn't develop weird theories about what's actually going on, adepts felt less weird and more predictable. We stopped being curious. Apocalypse World has the power to never tell the same story twice. Unknown Armies has obsessive and fractured characters who live in a world that could almost be our own (if you take the blindfold off). We are proud of the results so far.

Basic moves

Keep your shit together (cool)
When you try to do something in a stressful situation, roll +cool. On a 10+, you do it. On a 7-9, choose one.
  -  You do it, but mark 1 Crack.
  -  You fuck it up, but keep your cool.
On a 6-, mark 1 Crack, in addition to whatever the MC says.

Feed your obsession (intense)
When you feed your obsession, roll +intense. On a hit, take +1 forward. On a 7-9, you disgust yourself, or you disgust someone else.

Lash out (intense)
When you lash out at someone, roll +intense. On a 10+, choose two. On a 7-9, choose one.
   -  You harm them.
   -  They understand what’s really upsetting you, and take +1 forward to helping you.
   - You catch them off guard, and it takes them a few moments to react.

Ask a favour (humble)
When you ask a favour from someone, roll +humble.

(for NPCs) On a hit, they'll tell you what they want. If you give it to them, they'll do what you ask. On a 10+, they want a promise. On a 7-9, they want something tangible.

(for PCs) On a hit, they mark experience if they do what you ask. On a 10+, they also take +1 forward to helping you.

Protect something precious (humble)
When you put yourself in harm's way in order to protect something precious, roll +humble. On a hit, the thing you're protecting is okay. On a 10+, you are also okay.

Dig through their stuff (sharp)
When you dig through somebody else’s stuff, roll +sharp. On a 10+, choose two. On a 7-9, choose one.
  -  You don’t break anything or get yourself in trouble.
  -  You discover a secret about them.
  -  There’s something interesting and useful that you can steal.

Spout occult secrets (sharp)
When you spout occult secrets, roll +sharp. On a 10+, choose two. On a 7-9, choose one.
 - You don’t sound like you’re full of shit.
 - You don’t creep anyone out or piss them off.
 - The MC will tell you something useful and interesting.

Madness: Cracks

When you mark a Crack, something breaks inside your character’s mind. When this happens, it’s ugly and strange: work it into the fiction. Maybe you yell blame and abuse at one of your friends. Maybe you freeze and stare off into space while you should be doing something important. Or maybe you keep doing what you were doing, but you now seem eerily calm and distant.

When you mark your fifth Crack, you Shatter: while you’re freaking out, you do something shocking that you’ll never be able to take back. When you’re done, pick up the pieces and put yourself back together: clear all of your Cracks, but give yourself a new Defect. Defects look like this:

“When X happens, you must keep your shit together if you attempt to do Y.”

Defects are weak points that make your character more likely to Crack in the future. You can have as many Defects as you want, but be aware that once you’ve acquired a few Defects, your character will be far less effective at getting things done.

Still going
I've been tinkering with some extra rules for playing avatars
Godzi has played around with some stuff for guns and harm
Thanks to Wapa for the (mostly complete) artisan playbook.

We're trying to playtest, and I will try to post any updates here from now on.
I appreciate any suggestions and feedback.



  • 417
Re: the World of Our Desires - inspired by Unknown Armies
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2014, 03:33:15 PM »
You know, I like your Cracks mechanic.  It's kind of like the slow (or sometimes not so slow) degradation of sanity one finds in a Call of Cthulhu game.

Re: the World of Our Desires - inspired by Unknown Armies
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2014, 05:29:19 PM »
Unknown Armies was originally written as a reaction to Call of Cthulhu. The idea being that once you've seen all the monsters in Call of Cthulhu, it's harder to feel like a horror game. The madness mechanic was, therefore, a really important aspect of UA and one we wanted to keep in the transition. The things that Unknown Armies introduced was a format to replace monsters with horrifying people, and also more a versatile setting.

I imagine this hack would work fine for Lovecraftian Horror, if that's your flavour.