Sunday, January 30, 2011

Unknown Armies - Plots and Conspiracies

Earlier this week I picked up the core book for Unknown Armies (UA) from Noble Knight. UA is a unique book and game that tends to confound people. It's an incredibly original horror setting based on the real world and real world occult concepts. It's known as the anti-Call of Cthulhu in that, instead of eldritch abominations from beyond space and time, all the magic and pain in the universe is caused by us. It has a very complex pantheon and cosmology that is just waiting for conspiracy theorist fans to sink their teeth into.

I've read the opening fiction, but I'm 100% convinced that reading the over 300 page book cover to cover will provide hours of the highest entertainment. Then I found this thread on, and let's just say that I'm still digging myself out of that huge, entertaining time sink. That thread is (currently) a 92 page behemoth filled to the rim with different plot, adventure, campaign, and weird side-bit fodder to get any UA game going. The idea is that there's a lot hidden under the surface, and often the more absurd, the better gaming fodder. Being someone who can't help himself from coming up with big ideas, I've contributed six ideas of my own to the thread. I've chosen to recreate them below so you don't feel like you need to dig through all 92 pages to get caught up. Keep reading below for my six off-the-wall UA starter plots!

NASA used to be NASCA, but through a freak accident (some in the know say it was less an accident and more “everything going according to plan”), the word and its meaning that the C stands for was erased from all known languages with the exception of 17 individuals who all share the same birth date of July 29th, 1946. There have been 17 numbered Apollo missions.

Every Christmas Eve at midnight, dogs are able to speak Spanish and cats are able to speak English. You didn’t know? It’s probably because they don’t really have much to say... to you.

There are an infinite number of parallel universes mirroring our own. Every universe has seen the return of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, and every other Messiah figure from every major religion work as a team - almost like a group of superheroes - to clean up humanity and generally provide a better reality for everyone. Every universe except ours. Are they afraid to come back, did something kill them, or are they being held prisoner in some eldritch abomination's grasp? Or maybe they just don't like us very much.


The movie Escape from New York was a documentary sent back in time from 1997 to 1981. It was sent as a warming to avoid the future that was depicted in the film. It was sent back in time to the wrong version of parallel version of Earth. Later, in 1996, fake director and government pawn John Carpenter received another documentary film from the future, Escape from L.A. that was sent from 2013. Evidence has just been uncovered that this film reached its intended earth, and the only way to truly stop the horrible future depicted in the documentary from becoming reality is to kill Kurt Russell. (ed. note: we love Kurt Russell - this is just a plot line for a tabletop game!)

The phrase "hanging chads" is not what you think it is. It would be more accurate to say it's "hanging Chads" that held up the presidential election of 2000. Florida is messed up much worse than you had heard when it comes to elections and politics. There are 13 men who decide all elections in Florida. They are all named Chad. 7 Chads must agree on every election for it to be decided. It's right there in Florida's state constitution, although hardly anyone knows it. During the 2000 elections, 8 Chads were found in their mansions (for of course, each Chad is housed in a palace rivaling that of the Governor's mansion), dead, as they hung from the ceiling. This left the five Chads, two shy of being able to make any decision constitutionally, in a precarious position. This is why it took so long for Florida to get their shit together. This isn't the shocking part.

It was assumed at the time that the 8 hanging Chads all killed themselves because they were so depressed about the choices they had to make that year. There were even some suicide notes with some of them. However, two years ago, investigators within the federal government belatedly ran hand-writing analysis tests on the notes and are now considering that these suicides were actually just staged to look that way, and that they weren't really suicides at all, but murders.

Ask yourself, who benefits?

Think of all the cities throughout history that have had their names changed. Some name changes have a lot of build up to explain the changeto, but not all of them. Cities like Bombay suddenly changing its name to Mumbai or Peking becoming Beijing have rationales for their change which are... less than air-tight.

That's because these new cities are what happens when old cities give birth. The old cities get relocated to Antarctica and are slowly forming a multi-national, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic master nation that no one is keeping track of. It's ok though, this is how new continents have been seeded by humanity since we first left Africa. Soon it will be Antarctica's turn to dominant the other continents. This is just the way of things.

The only problem is, where will the old cities go once all seven continents of Earth have been seeded and developed?

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